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Rediff.com  » News » Answers to Prez Ref will not undo 2G verdict: SC

Answers to Prez Ref will not undo 2G verdict: SC

August 27, 2012 18:48 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday said the opinion of its Constitution bench on the Presidential Reference arising out of its 2G Spectrum judgement will not have "undoing" impact on the verdict by which the allocation of 122 licences were cancelled.

"All of us so far know that answers given to the Presidential Reference has no meaning to the case as it is not undoing the judgement. That will not make difference to the judgement," a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan said.

"The fact of the matter is that they (Centre) have not complied with the judgement," it further said, adding that "they have not held auction of the spectrum as per the judgement."

The apex court in its February 2 judgement this year had cancelled the 122 licences for 2G spectrum and had also advocated that all natural resources in all sectors should be allocated for commercial purpose through the auction route.

The remarks were made by the bench during the hearing of the Centre's plea seeking extention of deadline for completing the auction of 2G spectrum after advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for an NGO, said the government was delaying the process by filing the Presidential Reference after the its review petition was admitted.

While Bhushan was making submission, the bench also expressed displeasure over EGoM's decision to defer taking any step on spectrum pricing in view of the pending Presidential Reference.

"EGoM's decision was not appropriate at all. Why to wait till the matter is decided," the bench said.

On the query of the bench, Bhushan and Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy, on whose PILs the 2G licences were cancelled, replied in affirmative that there was contempt of apex court order by the Centre.

The bench, which was unhappy with the development, said "we want to make it clear that we are fixing the deadline for the auction and if there would be breach of the deadline there would be contempt proceedings against the officials."

During the hearing, the bench also said if there was failure to meet the deadline, the officials would face imposition of cost like it was imposed against the ineligible telecom operators by it February 2 judgement.

"Government will have to deposit that amount to the court if they failed," the bench said.

While the bench was expressing its displeasure against the Centre and hearing the submission of Bhushan, senior advocate P P Rao, appearing for Department of Telecom, objected saying how the CPIL counsel was making submission on the basis of the Cabinet note.

"How he got the Cabinet notes," Rao questioned but the bench pacified him by saying it has already accepted the Centre's plea for extention of deadline for auction of spectrum.

Earlier, Rao had placed the affidavit and the undertaking given by the Telecom Secretary stating that the February 2 judgement for allocation spectrum through auction would be firmly and expeditiously followed.

However, the bench noted that the affidavit did not mention the outer limit for completing the process. It also did not agree with Rao that Government will apprise regularly after October about the developments on the issue.

After Rao said that government took 63 days to complete the auction of 3G spectrum, the bench made it clear that it will not give more than 60 days for completing the exercise of auction for the cancelled 122 2G licences.

Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for a telecom operator, said DoT was not allowing shutting down operations by those operators who are unwilling to continue by citing the February 2 judgement.

He said DoT is arguing that the judegement makes it mandatory for the existing operators to continue till September 7, 2012.

At this, the bench said, "our judgement is clear that existing licencees' shall be entitled be entitled to continue to operate till September 7."

"We do not want make observation that we don't run english classes," the bench observed.

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