“You are threatening us, shouting at us”: Heated exchange between Justice Arun Mishra and Aryama Sundaram

“You are threatening us, shouting at us”: Heated exchange between Justice Arun Mishra and Aryama Sundaram

Murali Krishnan

The hearing in the Adjusted Gross Revenue case in the Supreme Court today witnessed a heated exchange between Justice Arun Mishra and Senior Advocate Aryama Sundaram.

The episode was triggered by certain queries and remarks made by Justice Arun Mishra in relation to  the submissions of Aryama Sundaram on whether operational expenses form part of the gross revenue.

Sundaram said that the judge was not willing to listen to him and was passing judgment without even hearing him.

“Don’t reject my submissions before I make it. Your Lordships can hear me and then write a judgment rejecting my arguments. But don’t reject it before even hearing me.”

Justice Mishra, who apparently seemed to hold an unfavourable view of Sundaram’s submissions on the issue, responded strongly to Sundaram’s remark. Asking Sundaram to calm down, he said,

“No Sir, no. This is not the way to address the court. When we are asking you a query, you should address us. You are shouting at us, threatening us.”

Sundaram suggested that both of them should calm down, but Justice Mishra was not in a mood to let it go.

“I am not angry. You have to calm down. Not both of us”, Mishra J. shot back.

Eventually, Sundaram apologised to the Bench and resumed his arguments, but not before Justice Mishra remarked that the point being canvassed by Sundaram is absurd.

The case is an appeal against a judgment of the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) and relates to the scope of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR).

TDSAT excluded the following from the definition of AGR: capital receipts, bad debt, distribution margins to dealers, forex fluctuations, sale of scrap and waiver of late fee. However, it also held that revenue from non-core sources such as rent, profit on the sale of fixed assets, dividend, interest, and miscellaneous income must be included while computing AGR.

The Central government and telecom companies have appealed this verdict.
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