Millennium Post

SC stays proceedings in HCs on pleas against 2G auction norms

SC stays proceedings in HCs on pleas against 2G auction norms
The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed proceedings before various High Courts and decided to hear on priority a batch of petitions raising various issues against the tender conditions for the auction of 2G spectrum scheduled for March 4.

The apex court said it will continue with the hearing tomorrow and “if necessary it will pass order during the Holi vacation on March 3, a day before the start of auction”.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Adarsh Kumar Goel transfferred petitions filed by private telecom operators from High Courts of Allahabad, Karnataka and Delhi to the apex court and said, “there will be a stay of further proceedings in the High Courts”.

The apex court, on February 17, had also said it would take a decision on the dispute between the government and private telecom operators on the issue of bidding of spectrum for the north-east circle, instead of leaving it to the Tripura High Court by staying all proceedings there.

The Centre has challenged the High Court’s interim order allowing telecom firms Bharti Hexacom Ltd and Reliance Telecom Ltd to submit two bids for a total of 8.8 MHz spectrum in the north-east circle. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that High Courts should not interfere in an “informed policy decision” on the auction of air waves having bearing on government revenues.

“If the auction of this nature which is going to fetch Rs One lakh crore to the government is going to be interfered by the High Courts then everything would come to a naught,” he said.

Rohatgi assailed the Tripura High Court order saying it would give rise to lot of petitions on the issue.
Further, he said the TRAI recommendations were not binding on the government and the Department of Telecom (DoT) could differ with them after they are examined by the DoT Committee and the Telecom Commission.

The AG said it was the same TRAI which had favoured auctioning a minimum of 5MHz of spectrum in 2012, 2013 and again in February 2014.

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