New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday pulled
up the government for its decision to advance the cut-off date
for allotment of telecom licenses to new operators in January
2008 on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah asked
Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati the reasons for which the
Department of Telecom advanced the cut-off date to September
25, 2007, from October 1, 2007.
"If you had already fixed a cut-off date (of October 1,
2007), then there would be a legitimate expectation ... what
made the government to change after receiving 189 applications
by that date," asked the bench.
The Attorney General said that it was done to handle the
large number of applicants and non-availability of spectrum.
The court, in turn, asked: "whether a decision was taken
without going through the applications, and whether many
applications were invalid and improper. If so, how many were
It said sectoral regulator TRAI had said that there would
be no cap on the number of service providers, but DoT`s action
tantamount to limit the number of players.
The bench also asked the rationale behind setting
September 25 as the cut-off date and why not some other date.