'Auction can't be only disposal method of natural resources'

The Centre also asserted that the allocation of natural resources is a policy matter and beyond the purview of judicial review.

Updated: Jun 25, 2012, 21:35 PM IST

New Delhi: The government Monday told the Supreme Court that "auction cannot be the only permissible method for disposal of natural resources" and a uniform policy on their distribution is "neither practical nor can it subserve the common good".

The Centre also asserted that the allocation of natural resources is a policy matter and beyond the purview of judicial review.

The submissions of the government came in response to the questions framed by the apex court on Presidential Reference moved by it (government) for its opinion on issues arising out of its 2G spectrum allocation judgement including whether auctioning of natural resources across all sectors is mandatory.

Supporting the policy of first-come-first-serve, the government said, "Ultimately the method of allocation of natural resources, apart from being governed by the principles of fairness and transparency, should also take into account the dynamic concept of public interest which also includes within its ambit the larger economic perspective and not merely financial gain."

Further, it said the desirability to have fairness and transparency in state auction does not lead to the conclusion that "auction is the only way" in which one can proceed further.

"The disposal and distribution of natural resources has to be made in accordance with the sector specific requirement of each natural resources. The method of distribution of natural resource has to take into account the nature of natural resource and economic policy underlying the effective utilisation of such resource," the Centre said.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia will commence hearing from July 10 on Presidential Reference on which notices were issued to the state governments and industrial chambers FICCI and CII and sought their responses on behalf of the private industries.

The Reference has also asked the court for its view whether the verdict in the 2G case be given retrospective effect for radio waves granted since 1994.

The court also issued notices to the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on whose petitions a bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly had delivered the judgement.

CPIL in its response to notice on Presidential Reference has said it is an attempt by government to continue with its "opaque and corrupt system of allocation of the resources to big industrialists".

The NGO has contended "the government in its reference has failed to point out why it is opposed to auctioning scarce natural resources and through what other methods it wishes to alienate them".