The Supreme Court judgement cancelling 122 telecom licences allocated on first-come-first serve basis has ramifications for other sectors like mining where the same principle is adopted, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has said.
“I have been saying this repeatedly that the impact of the judgement is far-reaching. It has implications not only on the (telecom) sector but on other sectors as well,” Mr. Sibal said.
The apex court, cancelling licences allocated by the then Telecom Minister A. Raja, had stated that auction was the best way for allocation of scarce natural resources. The court had also defined natural resources as both renewable and non-renewable.
Mrr. Sibal added that the government is studying the implications of the judgement and would take a view on the way how it should proceed.
“We will do that. As and when we do that, we take that decision, it will be placed in public domain,” he said.
Mr. Sibal cited the example of Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act that governs mineral resources in the country and auction of these resources can pose challenges.
“Suppose we want to mine a particular mineral and we find that for the prospecting of that mineral because you don’t know what are the quantities of that mineral embedded in earth and you don’t know where it is embedded so naturally you will request entrepreneurs to come and prospect,” Mr. Sibal said.
After entrepreneurs spend $600 million on prospecting, and find the mineral, should it be the policy to auction it. These are the questions which need to be looked into, he said.
Telecom Minister said that the Supreme Court judgement would have impact on the future of investments in the country.
“We have to study all those things and then come to a considered view as to what extent it will impact and how we have to deal with it. So, we have not taken a position on it but these are all issues that need to be addressed,” Mr. Sibal said.