SC raps Centre over cancelled spectrum sale
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Saying that the government was playing with its order, the Supreme Court Friday expressed its disapproval of the Centre's decision to not auction the entire 2G spectrum cancelled by the court in February and asked for an explanation of its position.
"We can tell you clearly that you are not implementing our order but prima facie playing with our order. You were required to put spectrum of all 22 service areas cancelled by us on auction. We are very clear that in terms of our direction you have to undertake the exercise for grant of licences for 2G spectrum in all the 22 circles," said a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishanan.
Dissatisfied with the government's explanation for restricting the auction of spectrum, the bench asked its law officer to adduce reasons for it on November 19, the next date of hearing.
The bench wanted to know why the Centre had not informed it about the government's stance in the last 10 months since the case had been taken up for hearing several times after the February verdict.
"We always believed that you are implementing our order in letter and spirit," the bench said while making it clear that the auction process, which is scheduled for November 12, will go on.
The Cellular Operators Association of India, the apex body of GSM operators, has sought the apex court's direction that all spectrum vacated by the cancellation of 122 telecom licences by its February 2-verdict should be put up for auction. COAI has also sought the apex court's direction to quash 83 MHz spectrum allotted to the Tata group under the dual-technology licence in 2008 and auction it. According to COAI, 514 MHz of spectrum should be vacated following the cancellation of 122 licences and de-allotment of 83 MHz spectrum to Tatas.