Several corporate bodies,in the Supreme Court on Thursday supported the Central governments stand that all natural resources cannot be allocated to private companies only through auction as noted by the apex court in 2G spectrum verdict.
Appearing before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia,senior advocate Harish Salve,appearing for Confederation of Indian Industry (CII),contended the verdict was specific to spectrum allocation and it cannot be applied to all natural resources.
He was arguing on a reference sent by the President seeking a clarification from the apex court on the February 2 judgment of a court bench in which it was held that all natural resources should be allocated through auction.
The bench,also comprising justices DK Jain,JS Khehar,Dipak Mishra and Ranjan Gogoi,was told that in several judgments it has been held that it is not necessary that in all cases of transfer or alienation of resources,the State is duty-bound to adopt the method of auction.
Earlier,Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) had said the 2G verdict has international implications as the apex court has entered into the domain of policy-making by holding the first-come-first-serve policy as illegal and unconstitutional.
Justifying the Presidential reference,the Centre had on Thursday concluded: The basis underlying the Presidential reference is to reconcile the said judgments with the recent statement of law. This is where doubts arise. If the recent restatement of law is not in conformity with the earlier judgments,then the government is placed in a predicament as stated in the reference.
The court had on May 11 issued notices and sought responses also from state governments and Ficci and CII on behalf of the private industries along with those of the NGO,Centre for Public Interest Litigation and Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy.