2G: Cabinet likely to take up Presidential reference tomorrow

Pranab Mukherjee

Union Cabinet is expected to discuss tomorrow the Presidential reference on the Supreme Court's order on 2G licences regarding auction of natural resources.

The Cabinet will meet in the evening and the Presidential reference could be taken up, sources said here today.

The government is seeking the Presidential reference as it wants clarity on the apex court's February 2 verdict on natural resources in the 2G spectrum case.

The Supreme Court had said natural resources should be auctioned and the reference is planned to be sought under Article 143 of the Constitution as per which the President can seek clarification from the apex court on its judgements on issues of public interest, the sources said.

Senior members of the Cabinet, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, had met twice last month to discuss and analyse the Supreme Court verdict on the basis of opinion given by Attorney General G E Vahanvati.

The ministers discussed the future course of action, including legal options available to the government.

The government has already, on March 2, filed the review petition in the apex court questioning its verdict holding as unconstitutional the policy of first-come-first-served in allocation of 2G spectrum saying it has entered into the exclusive domain of the executive and beyond the limits of judicial review.

It contended the top court's prescription of a single method for distribution of all natural resources, including spectrum, through "auction" route is contrary to the principle of separation of powers embodied in the Constitution.

Earlier, the UPA government had gone for the Presidential reference in 2004 on the river water-sharing dispute between Haryana and Punjab.

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