In what could be a major turning point for the telecom sector, the Supreme Court on Thursday is scheduled to take up the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) case.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and M.R. Shah is likely to consider the issue of allowing the telcos to pay their mammoth AGR dues worth Rs 1.43 lakh crore over 20 years.

On March 16, the DoT, had sought staggered payment over 20 years of AGR dues by telecom companies as immediate payment could result in possible bankruptcies.

However on March 18, the apex court slammed the Centre and telecom companies for not complying with its order on the payment of dues and penalties, saying, “Actions of telecom companies tantamount to seeking to bypass our judgement. All dues as per our judgement will have to be paid, including interest and penalty.”

In its order, the top court had said that no self-assessment can be done on AGR dues and no further objection on its verdict would be entertained.

The bench, however, observed it was open to consider DOT’s proposal of staggered payment of AGR dues over 20 years.

Bharti Airtel had already paid Rs 13,000 crore as AGR dues so far, and Vodafone Idea has paid Rs 3,500 crore, IANS reported.