Info-tech

Bound to follow apex court order to auction spectrum: Govt

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on July 12, 2012

The Government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it is bound to follow the apex court’s February 2 order to auction spectrum. However, it said its Presidential Reference was only seeking to know whether public auction needs to be the only method to allocate other natural resources.

The Attorney General, Mr G. E. Vahanvati, told a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by the Chief Justice, Mr S. H. Kapadia, that the Reference was not aimed at overturning the apex court’s 2G case ruling, adding that the Government has accepted that verdict.

Allegation

An original petitioner in the 2G case, the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), represented by advocate Mr Prashant Bhushan, had earlier alleged that “under the garb of the Presidential Reference” the Government was trying to ensure that the 2G judgement is overruled. It asked the apex court to therefore decline to answer the questions raised in the Reference.

Mr Bhushan also pointed out that the First-Come-First-Served (FCFS) policy adopted by the Centre to allocate 2G spectrum was held to be unconstitutional in the apex court’s landmark 2G case judgment.

He said the Government’s FCFS method for allocating scarce natural resources such as 2G spectrum was opaque, non-competitive, arbitrary and corruption-ridden, as seen in the 2G scam.

Another petitioner in the case, the Janata Party President, Dr Subramanian Swamy, had said on Wednesday that to avoid such instances as the 2G scam, the apex court’s 2G ruling rightly said that while transferring natural resources, public auction is the most transparent method and one which can get the best price for the Government.

‘Not the only method’

However, Mr Vahanvati said, while distributing natural resources, revenue maximisation was not always the consideration, and therefore, auction cannot be the only method for the disposal of these scarce resources.

He added that some observations made in the February 2 order could impact domestic and foreign investments, and therefore those points need to be clarified. He also said the Centre withdrawing its review petition in the 2G case has no bearing on the Reference.

Dr Swamy said if the Centre had any doubts regarding the apex court’s 2G case order, it could have persisted with its review petition. But instead the Centre withdrew its review petition and then chose to move a Presidential Reference, he had said.

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Published on July 12, 2012
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