Criticising the government for being ‘casual’ in handling the 2G spectrum matter, the Supreme Court on Monday said the DoT must ensure compliance of its February 2 judgment that cancelled 122 licences granted to 9 telecom companies through a flawed first-come-first-served criteria in January 2008.
Chiding the Centre for not complying with its order and letting “lower ranking officials” file affidavits in the matter, a bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi refused to take on record the DoT affidavit was filed by an under secretary-level officer.
The court slammed the Centre after an affidavit, which explained why the entire spectrum freed after the cancellation of 2G licences given away by former telecom minister A Raja was not put up for auction, was filed by a lower level officer and not the DoT secretary.
“This affidavit can’t be accepted. The under-secretary is not competent at all. This is deliberate attempt by the DoT. It is a serious matter. The government is very casual in dealing with this issue,” the court said, asking the telecom secretary to file a reply within two days.
“Keep in mind that withholding of spectrum, even 0.1%, will not be acceptable,” bench said, adding it was never told earlier that the entire 2G spectrum would not be put on auction. ‘‘At no point of time this court was informed the auction was only for 800 and 1800 MHz band,’’ the bench observed. It was contended before the court the Centre has not complied with the SC’s direction and it has withheld 136 MHz spectrum out of 431 MHz in 1800 band.