Centre to SC: 2G auctions carried out as per verdict

Censured by the Supreme Court for not putting on auction the entire 2G spectrum cancelled by its February verdict and adopting a "casual" approach on the matter, the Centre on Thursday defended its decision, saying it had acted on the TRAI recommendations under a "bonafide belief" that it was obligated to do so as per the judgement.

The affidavit, submitted by the Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, stated that auction of 390 MHz out of 473.6 MHz of spectrum in 800 and 1800 MHz band – allotted to 122 licence holders in 2008 by then telecom minister A Raja, was carried out following the recommendations by the TRAI and the government's decision of 2011.

"The Union of India was throughout under the bona fide belief that its actions in seeking the recommendations of TRAI with respect to the auction were entirely in accordance with the judgment of this Court. The procedure of auction followed was the procedure followed in the case of the 3G auction, again as directed by this Court," it stated.

A Bench led by Justice G S Singhvi had on Monday questioned the Centre over not informing the court about its decisions on keeping certain frequency bands reserved, non-availability of a frequency band etc. even though it was constantly monitoring the case. "Withholding of even 0.1 per cent of spectrum will not be acceptable," it had said after being apprised that the 900 MHz spectrum was not available for auction, the entire block of 1800 MHz spectrum was not auctioned either.

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