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Centre challenges 2012 2G spectrum verdict, seeks auction route modification

The Centre on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking modification of its 2012 2G spectrum verdict requiring the Government to adopt the auction route for transferring or alienating the country’s natural resources.

The top court had on February 2, 2012 quashed 2G spectrum licences given to various companies in January 2008 during the UPA Government when A Raja was the Telecom Minister.

Attorney General R Venkataramani mentioned the Centre’s plea seeking modification of the 2012 verdict before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud for urgent listing as the Government wanted to grant 2G spectrum licences in some cases.

The Bench asked the Attorney General to send an email – a procedural requirement for urgent listing of cases. “We will see, you please move an e-mail,” the CJI told Venkataramani.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who represented Centre for Public Interest Litigation — one of the petitioners in the 2G Spectrum case, opposed the centre’s application, saying the issue had been well-settled by the top court in its 2012 verdict that auction was the only mode for granting licences for natural resources such as spectrum — the radio frequencies allocated to the mobile phone industry for communication over the airwaves.

When it comes to alienation of scarce natural resources like spectrum etc, it is the burden of the State to ensure that a non-discriminatory method is adopted for distribution and alienation, which would necessarily result in protection of national/public interest,” the Supreme Court had ruled.

“In other words, while transferring or alienating the natural resources, the State is duty bound to adopt the method of auction by giving wide publicity so that all eligible persons can participate in the process,” it had said.

The CBI had alleged there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the top court on February 2, 2012.

A Delhi Special Court had on December 21, 2017 acquitted Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in the CBI and ED cases related to the 2G spectrum allocation. The CBI had on March 20, 2018 moved the Delhi High Court against the acquittals.

On March 22 this year, the Delhi High Court admitted a CBI’s appeal against the Special Court’s verdict acquitting Raja and 16 others in the 2G spectrum allocation case, saying there were “some contradictions” in the trial court’s judgment which required “deeper examination”. Tribune India

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