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Supreme Court Upholds Cabinet Decision to Relax AGR Dues Payment by Telecom Companies

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea challenging the Union government’s Cabinet decision from September 2021 to ease the payment terms for adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues owed by telecom companies. This decision came in response to a writ petition filed by Anshul Gupta against the Cabinet’s move.

Justification for Cabinet Decision

In its order, the Supreme Court emphasized that it would not be appropriate to interfere with a well-considered policy decision made in the public interest, based on expert opinions and evolving circumstances. The government’s decision to relax AGR payment terms was influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to increased data usage for online education and virtual meetings. Telecom service providers (TSPs) needed substantial investments to maintain network stability during this surge in internet usage.

Pandemic-Driven Necessity

The Court acknowledged the critical role played by the telecom sector during the pandemic, facilitating communication, virtual court proceedings, and more. It recognized that policy decisions like these, made in the interest of the public’s welfare, should not be interfered with lightly.

Policy Matters and Public Interest

The Supreme Court expressed reluctance to intervene in policy matters unless there was evidence of illegality, arbitrariness, or unconstitutionality. It emphasized that policy decisions, especially those with technical and financial implications, should be driven by public interest and expert opinions.


The dismissal of the plea signifies the Court’s support for the government’s policy decision to relax AGR dues payment terms for telecom companies. It underscores the importance of considering public welfare and emerging circumstances in such policy matters.


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