The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to hear all the cases challenging the upcoming spectrum auctions...
The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to hear all the cases challenging the upcoming spectrum auctions and stayed the proceedings before the high courts of Allahabad, Delhi, Karnataka and Tripura. Various telcos — Reliance Communications, Bharti Hexacom, Idea Cellular and Sistema Shyam — have challenged the tender conditions before different HCs.
While questioning the government’s rationale for fixing 5MHz as minimum criteria for bidding and the procedure for auctioning of remaining 3.8 MHz in the North East region, a bench headed by justice Dipak Misra said that the issue needs to be decided at the earliest and it was willing to pass orders right ahead of spectrum auctions considering its national importance.
Clarifying that they don’t intend to go into the technicalities of this complex auction process, the judges said that all they wanted to make sure that the process was not irrational and arbitrary. The court will continue hearing on Thursday.
The apex court is considering an appeal against a Tripura High Court order that allowed Bharti Hexacom and Rcom to place bids for 4.4MHz, instead of the minimum requirement of 5MHz stipulated in the guidelines for the Northeast circle. The two companies claim that out of a total available 8.8MHz, a minimum 5MHz bid has the potential to oust competition in the circle for the 900MHz spectrum.
Ruling out that the terms cannot be tweaked to favour certain entities, Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi argued that government’s decision to auction spectrum, scheduled to start on March 4, was well thought out decision and was not irrational.