On Justice Ganguly’s table: three crucial 2G matters

FP

On Thursday, when Justice A K Ganguly, a schoolteacher who became a Supreme Court judge, delivers his farewell speech, he would have had a busy day. He would have shared verdicts with longtime companion judge Justice G S Singhvi for the 2G case for the last time.

The Bench will decide three crucial matters in the 2G case: the alleged role of Home Minister P Chidambaram, the cancellation of 122 licences allotted by former telecom minister A Raja to private companies, and whether a special investigation team (SIT) is required to monitor the 2G investigation.

It all started in October 2010, when a little-known public interest plea, demanding a court-monitored investigation into public officials and the then minister Raja, into the allotment of 2G spectrum to private companies came up in the court of the two judges.

The PIL, filed by an even lesser known NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, was, many thought, destined for quick dismissal before the calling of the next case by the court master. It had, after all, been dismissed by the Delhi High Court.

But the predictions went wrong. The two judges, after a quiet discussion on the bench before a waiting courtroom, decided to issue notices to the central government and Raja in person. The short hearing marked the beginning of one of the most significant Indian courtroom dramas in recent times, catapulting the two judges centrestage.

If the government had any doubts on where the court was heading, the next hearing on October 29, 2010, brought the answer. Justice Ganguly interrupted Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval to ask: "The same minister (Raja) is continuing. Is this the way a government should function?"

It was a question the government found difficult to answer. Raja had to resign, only to be arrested and tried for his role in allotting 2G spectrum at "throwaway prices".

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