SC notice to Swamy, NGO in 2G case

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 14 2012, 08:44am hrs
The Supreme Court on Friday sought reply from the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation and Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy on the governments petition seeking limited review of its February 2 judgment that held that the auction was best suited route for allocating natural resources.

However, it clarified that there was no stay on the cancellation of 122 licences, a stand also put forth by the government in its review plea.

A bench comprising justices GS Singhvi and KS Radhakrishnan while issuing notice to the NGO and Swamy said; Issue of extension of cancelled licences will be dealt with when DoTs application for extending the auction deadline is heard and also fixed May 1 as the next date of hearing. However, it refused to issue notices to telecom companies which were affected by its verdict in the case.

Additional solicitor general Indira Jaisingh assured the court that the government was not seeking review on cancellation of licences issue and whatever method the government will choose for such distribution in future would be fair.

When she wanted to know the scope of applicabilty of the judgment on other natural resources like mines and minerals, water, housing, etc when auction had been held to the best way for disposal of such natural resources, justice Singhvi said that these were just apprehensions of the government. However, Jaisingh said that these were not apprehensions but the government wanted a roadmad in place.

The apex court also refused to hear pleas of senior counsel Harish Salve and Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for telecom companies, wanting to know the fate of the companies in the event of the government not being able to complete auction process by June 2. We will hear the issue as and when we will feel it appropriate, the bench observed.

While Salve insisted that the issue cant be left in vaccuum as the companies cant wait for 400 days as sought by the government in its clarificatory plea, Jaising asserted that the government was trying its best to meet its obligations and if it cant, then only the issue of extension of cancellation date would arise.

However, she said that the governments clarification plea seeking extension of time for completing auction process was not listed on Friday.

Meanwhile Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) has moved an application in the SC seeking a direction to the government to conduct auction of telecom licences and spectrum by June 2 in accordance with its February 2 judgment that cancelled 122 telecom licences.