Thursday, September 27, 2012

Auction order not for all natural resources: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday clarified that the government need not follow a competitive bidding process for allocating all national resources.

The apex court said the government was free to adopt the mode which would serve larger public interest while distributing natural resources.

In a unanimous judgment,, the SC said auction  could not be elevated to the status of the only constitutional way for allocation of natural resources.

The court said auction was a method directed only for 2G spectrum and not mandated to apply universally to all natural resources.

The auction order is only restricted to the telecom spectrum, it said.

Earlier this year, in the context of the 2G telecom scam, the Supreme Court had said that allnatural resources must be auctioned by the government.

The February 2 judgment of a bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi laying down auction route for allocation of all natural resources had created considerable difficulty for the government, which had first filed a review and later withdrew it to send a presidential reference under Article 143 of the Constitution.

The presidential reference covered under its ambit all natural resources, including spectrum, while raising doubts about the practicality of the 2G judgment directions for allocation through auction.

However, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia had clarified at the beginning of the hearing that it would not entertain any arguments for review of the 2G judgment, which had cancelled all 122 spectrum licences allocated during A Raja's tenure as telecom minister in 2008 and ordered their auction.

The Union government had also agreed that it was not seeking review of the 2G judgment through the presidential reference and clarified that the President was seeking a clarification on the doubts on facts and law issues that had arisen from the February 2 judgment.

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