2G: Merits, maintainability of Prez Reference be decided, says SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will hear all the issues framed by it on the Presidential Reference on the 2G spectrum verdict and its decision on objections on maintainability and the merits of the case will be pronounced together.
After hearing five days of extensive arguments on the maintanibility of the reference, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said instead of passing its order on the maintainability at this stage, it would hear every aspect, including the merits of the reference before arriving at its opinion.
The bench asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati to commence from tomorrow Government's arguments on the merits of the reference.
"We will hear the matter on the entire issue. We will decide the reference on merits and also on the initial objection on its maintainability at the end," said the bench, also comprising justices D K Jain, J S Khehar, Dipak Mishra and Ranjan Gogai.
The reference covers various issues arising out of the apex court's 2G spectrum case verdict including whether auctioning of natural resources across all sectors is mandatory and whether the verdict in the 2G case can be given retrospective effect for radio waves granted since 1994.
The court had on May 11 issued notices and sought responses also from state governments and FICCI and CII on behalf of the private industries along with those of the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy.
It was on the petitions by CPIL and Swamy that a bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly (since retired) had delivered its February 2 verdict which cancelled 122 telecom licences holding that the first-come-first-served policy was illegal and unconstitutional.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), contended that the reference was maintainable and the apex court can go ahead to overrule the 2G verdict if it was not authoritative on law.
He also assailed the judgement saying that the findings and observations making it mandatory to follow the route of auction for allocation of all natural resources in all sectors was beyond the scope of writ of mandamus.
Senior advocate C A Sundram, appearing for the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), said the 2G verdict has international implications as the apex court has entered into the domain of policy making by holding the first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy as illegal and unconstitutional.
"This judgement (2G) has gone into formulating policy, adjudicating the policy and also on the aspect of implementation of the policy," he said.
Further, he said the judgement has its impact on the foreign investment not only in the telecom sector but on other sectors and certain questions of law have arisen.