Petitioners call for cancelling of licences, fresh auction
The Supreme Court will hear on Monday two petitions filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and other eminent personalities and Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy for a direction to the Centre to cancel the 2G spectrum licences already issued and acted upon and hold a fresh auction for these licences.
The CPIL and others, Common Cause; the former Chief Election Commissioners, J.M. Lyngdoh, T.S. Krishnamurthy and N. Gopalaswami; and the former Central Vigilance Commissioner, P. Shankar, submitted that even the sectoral regulator had recommended the cancellation of 69 of the 122 licences.
They said: “The allocation of 2G spectrum and telecom licences made by the DoT [Department of Telecommunications] pursuant to the two press releases issued by it on January 10, 2008 be held illegal, licences be cancelled, spectrum be taken back by the government and then be auctioned as was done in 2001 and has been done in 2010.”
The petition said that internationally, in most legal systems, transactions tainted by bribery or corruption or made in violation of established norms and procedures were considered illegal and unenforceable. It alleged that these allocations, made by the DoT during the tenure of A. Raja as Communications Minister, were marred by “multiple illegalities, corruption and favouritism.”
In his application, Dr. Swamy, whose main prayer was for the cancellation of the licences, said the government had already collected Rs.73.73 crore as penalty by way of liquidated damages for certain infractions of the issued licences.
He apprehended that further adjudication by the government might be carried out and payment of such compounding fees would result in rights being claimed by the defaulting licences for regularisation.
“And this may lead to further losses to the public exchequer. It will be in the interest of justice for this court to direct that all such and further adjudication by the respondent be not carried out except under the supervision of this court; and that all such moves be subject to orders of this court.”