The Supreme Court said on Tuesday it would waive the 1 per cent court fee on the Income Tax Department on the Rs 2,500 crore deposited by Vodafone International Holdings if the government gives an undertaking that it would not make a claim of "unjust enrichments".
Earlier, invoking a provision in the Supreme Court rules that has been used rarely, the registry had asked for 1 per cent of the Rs2,500 crore deposited by Vodafone as fees when the government wanted to withdraw the amount under an interim order passed by the apex court.
It amounted to Rs 25 crore. Neither did the government want to lose this nor did Vodafone want to deposit Rs25 crore more to enable the centre to withdraw the money, which it had deposited as a precursor to the apex court hearing its appeal against a Bombay high court order validating the nearly $2 billion capital gains tax on the $11-billion acquisition of Hutch.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar expressed willingness to waive the fee if the government gives an undertaking before it that it would not make "unjust enrichments" if they lose their case against Vodafone.
"If you make statement that we will not make unjust enrichments claims if you lose (then we would)," the bench said to attorney general Goolam E Vahanvati, representing the government.
The "doctrine of unjust enrichment" has been propounded as an equitable concept created to remedy injustices that occur where one person makes a substantial contribution to the property of another person without compensation.
Vahanvati said the stake in this matter was big and he would make statement on Monday, after consulting the government.