Telecom companies including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices have moved the Supreme Court seeking modification in the top court's verdict in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) matter. The development comes days after the Supreme Court rejected the telecom service providers' plea seeking a review of its earlier order that allowed the government to collect dues worth Rs 92,000 crore from them.
The telecom companies want the top court to permit them to approach the department of telecom so that payment can be made beyond deadline of January 23.
Unlike the review petition by the telecom companies last week which was heard in chambers, a modification petition can be heard in open court and the telecom companies are likely to argue for more time for making the payment to the telecom department.
Telecom companies had moved a review petition in Supreme Court after the top court last year allowed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to collect the bulk of dues from them, giving the mobile operators three months to comply with the order.
According to the Supreme Court's ruling in October, telecom companies are required to clear the dues towards license fee by January 23.
The payment dispute centers around the definition of adjusted gross revenue. In its October ruling, the top court upheld the telecom department's definition of AGR.
Telecom providers in the country pay the Department of Telecommunications 3-5 per cent of their AGR in spectrum usage charges and 8 per cent as licence fees.
Companies have long argued that AGR should comprise just revenue accrued from core services, while the government says it should include all revenue.
According to the telecom department, Bharti Airtel owes around Rs 23,000 crore, Vodafone Idea Rs 19,823.71 crore and Reliance Communications Rs 16,456.47 crore.
Reliance Communications, which shut down voice operations in December 2017, filed for bankruptcy last year.