New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT today asked the government to file reply over a batch of petitions by various operators opposing the demand for additional licence fee.
TDSAT also asked the Department of Telecom not to take any coercive action against private telecom operators till December 10, the next date of hearing.
A single member bench of P K Rastogi gave 10 days' time to DoT to file a short reply and another 10 days to the operators for their rejoinder.
The operators which approached TDSAT are -- Reliance Communications, Reliance Telecom, Vodafone Cellular, Vodafone East, Vodafone India, Vodafone Mobile Services, Vodafone West, Vodafone Digilink, Vodafone South, Tata Teleservices and Tata Teleservices (Maharshtra).
DoT had issued notices to these operators on November 8, seeking additional Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) from them and asked them to pay up by November 26.
The government had raised the demand for the financial years 2006-07 and 2007-08 after a special audit was conducted that allegedly found under-reporting of their revenue.
Telecom operators pay a certain percentage of their revenue from earnings from specified components as the licence fee, called as AGR.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and Abhishek Manu Singhvi representing the telecom operators sought stay over the demand notice issued by the government saying that there was no need to issue it as still the process of determining it was going on.
However, the argument was opposed by DoT's counsel Vineet Malhotra. He said there was no need to stay as the notice did not ask for any immediate disconnection of services or enforcement.
Moreover, the operators had served the petition yesterday and he has no instruction for the matter.
The tribunal consented with DoT's submission and said there was no threat of either disconnection or termination of services.