DoT moves SC against Delhi HC order on 2G licence cut-off date

Last Updated: Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 18:12

New Delhi: Stung by Delhi High Court`s verdict that slammed the Department of Telecom for `arbitrarily` advancing the cut-off date for release of 2G spectrum to new telecom operators, the government has
challenged the order before the Supreme Court.

The DoT filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the apex court last week saying all the rules and regulations were followed while allocating licences for 2G spectrum to new mobile operators.

One of the new telecom operators S Tel had approached the
Delhi Court challenging DoT`s decision to advance the cut-off
date due to which Chennai-based C Sivasankaram–led S Tel was
denied licences in 16 circles.

Telecom Minister A Raja has come under severe criticism
for his decision to advance the cut-off date with some quarter
alleging that it was done to favour only a handful of
companies.

Companies, including Unitech, Swan Telecom, Loop,
Datacom,Shyam-Sistema and S Tel among others were given
licences in January 2008 followed by 2G spectrum at a cost of
Rs 1,658 crore for pan-India operations.

The DoT has stood its ground that no wrong has been done
and keeping in mind the availability of spectrum the decision
was taken.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice AP Shah had
said there was no "rational" in DoT`s decision to advance the
deadline from October 1, 2007, to September 25, 2007.

"Appellant (DoT) has been unable to show that its
decision to revise the cut-off date after receiving the
application of respondent (S Tel) was based on some rational
criteria. It is vulnerable to being labelled arbitrary and
irrational," the court said directing the Department of
Telecom to pay Rs 20,000 within four weeks.

The bench further said after receiving applications DoT
can not change the criteria.

"The government would have to justify its decision to
revise the cut-off date already fixed, after the applications
have been received from persons acting on the basis of earlier
cut-off date," the court said.

Over allotment of spectrum to S Tel, the court had said
that there was no guarantee of allocation of radio frequencies
to the licence holder.

It further observed that DoT has to still allot spectrum
to 110 applicants who have applied up to September 25, 2007.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 18:12
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