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'Why Shouldn't Jio Pay Dues of Reliance Communications for Using Its Spectrum?': SC Asks Reliance Jio

Jio Reliance Communications Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on 14th August 2020, stated that Reliance Jio must pay Reliance Communications’ AGR dues as Jio was using Reliance Communications’ spectrum since 2016.

Justice Arun Mishra said that “Reliance Jio is in operation since 2016. Why should we not ask Jio if they are using the spectrum? Who are the beneficiaries? It is a shocking state of affairs if revenue is not shared and spectrum is used by somebody else?”

A bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, and Justice MR Shahdirected the Central Government, Reliance Jio, and Reliance Communications to produce necessary documents to bring light to who would be liable to pay the AGR dues of Reliance Communications. The bench also looked out for the information regarding who was using the spectrum of Aircel and Videocon.

In the order, it is stated that "we have directed them to place on record the information relating to Agreement entered into with respect to using of spectrum by the respective parties. In the case of Reliance Communications, its spectrum of 800 MAZ is being used by Reliance Jio since 2016. Let the agreement between the parties be placed on record."

Similar directions were issued to other companies which are under insolvency, including Aircel Limited, Aircel Cellular Limited, and Dishnet Wireless Limited and Videocon Telecommunications Limited to identify who is using the spectrum an arrangement along with documents be placed on record

Senior Advocate Shyam Divan appearing for Reliance Communications submitted that a part of the spectrum was lying idle and the other part was being used by Jio basis a contractual agreement. 

Senior Advocate KV Vishwanathan appearing for Reliance Jio submitted that "there was something called with Jio and that has been reported to the DOT and the fee to liberalize such spectrum has been paid.

The bench stated that "the Spectrum is owned by the Sovereign." Also, he added that spectrum is nobody’s but the government’s property. It has public money and it has a revenue-sharing regime. 

The bench stated that it was the "Master of the Spectrum", adding to that the National Company Law Tribunal & National Company Law Appellate Tribunal could not have allowed it to be used sans payment of dues. 


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