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2G: SC admits govt’s review plea on natural assets allocation

Apex court,however,refused to hear telecom firms whose licences it cancelled in February.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published: April 13, 2012 7:02 pm

The Supreme Court today admitted the government’s plea seeking review of its 2G ruling that natural resources should be allotted to private companies only through “auction” but refused to hear affected telecom firms whose petitions for reconsideration of verdict were dismissed.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan issued notices to the NGO,Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy,seeking their response on the government’s plea seeking review of the February 2 judgement by which the first-come-first-serve policy was held as flawed.

CPIL and Swamy were the petitioners on whose plea the apex court had passed a slew of directions including the cancellation of 122 2G licenses which were allotted during the tenure of former Telecom Minister A Raja.

The bench,which said it will indicate a date for hearing the review petition in open court,made it clear that the issuance of notice in the matter did not mean a stay on the operation of its directives in the judgement cancelling the licences and asking allocation of spectrum through auction.

In a last bid attempt to put across their grievances,private telecom operators,who are affected by the cancellation of licenses and whose review petition has already been dismissed,pleaded that they should be heard while deciding the review petition.

The bench,however,refused to issue notices to them.

At the outset,Government said that it was seeking review on limited aspect of the verdict pertaining to apex court ruling that all natural resources should be allotted through the auction process.

“We do not want to question the order on the cancellation of licences. What is of concern for us is the question of law. Some of the questions require revisiting,” Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising submitted.

The government said the February 2 judgement cancelling the 2G licences “is liable to be reviewed since there are errors which are apparent on the face of the record” and there are other sufficient reasons for reviewing the verdict delivered by a bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly (since retired).

The petition said there was error in the judgement that the state is duty bound to follow the auction procedure in all cases,as no reasonable authority could hold that in all cases,natural resources must go to the highest bidder.

The government also questioned the apex court for interfering in the policy decision and said the judgement in respect of the policy is “directly contrary to the settled law”.

It said remarks made in the judgement that the policy of first-come-first-served was “lopsided” and not in public interest needs reconsideration.

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