October 3, 2013 1:52:47 am
Urging the Supreme Court to refrain from exercising its power of judicial review over governments spectrum allocation policies,the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) have refuted that award of airwaves beyond the 6.2 MHz limit to various companies like Vodafone,Airtel,Idea was free and hence caused a loss to the national exchequer.
In its reply affidavit to a petition by the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) an industry body representing the CDMA and dual technology-based service providers DoT has claimed that it adopted a fair and reasonable procedure in the public interest for allocating the additional spectrum.
Denying AUSPIs contention that additional spectrum without any provision in the license per se rendered the allocation bad in law,DoT said: The licence agreement stipulates initial start-up spectrum to which the licensee may have an entitlement. Further allocations are required to be done in accordance with the growth of a licensees operations and in public interest to ensure the provision of appropriate service standards to a consumer.
DoT stated there was no loss to the public money in view of the Cabinet decision in November 2012 for levy of one-time charges for additional spectrum. It pointed out that a total demand of Rs 13,060 crore had been raised against seven companies to whom additional spectrum had been allocated.
However,these demands have been stayed in proceedings before the TDSAT or high courts.
DoT has admitted that the one-time fee was to be levied from July 2008 till the auction-determined price was discovered. However,the additional spectrum had been allocated from 2003 and the government may have a lot of explaining to do in the court over this left out period.
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