Government says it would need at least 400 days to complete the process

Contending that it would not be possible for the government to complete the process of auction of 2G spectrum licences in four months as it would take at least 400 days, the Centre on Thursday filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking a clarification on devising appropriate procedures till then.

The Centre is also contemplating filing a substantive petition seeking review of the judgment and keeping its option open on seeking a Presidential reference on the issue of auction of natural resources.

In his application, Irene Cherian, Under Secretary (AS-V) in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), said that on February 2, while allowing two writ petitions, the court declared illegal the two press releases issued on January 10, 2008 and quashed the allocation of spectrum licences allocated pursuant to the press releases. The court gave four months for implementing the directions, according to which the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) should make fresh recommendations for 2G licences in 22 service areas by auction as was done for allocation of 3G spectrum.

The petition said TRAI had begun the process of consultations to make recommendations for grant of licence and allocation of spectrum in 2G band and the auction process would be open to all qualified entities which might include some or all the existing licensees whose licences stood quashed as per the judgment.

It said DoT had undertaken a detailed examination of the steps involved in the conduct of the auction, commencing with the receipt of TRAI recommendations and culminating in the issue of licences and assignment of spectrum frequencies and it would take at least 400 days.

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