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SC asks Centre to wrap up 2G bidding by Jan 11

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 27, 2012
First Published: 18:11 IST(27/8/2012) | Last Updated: 23:54 IST(27/8/2012)

The government can complete the fresh auction of 2G spectrum licences by January 11 and operators whose licences would have been revoked can continue services till January 18.

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In a huge relief to the government, the Supreme Court on Monday allowed it more time to sell the 122 2G spectrum licences it had struck down through a February 2 order. This is the second time that the court has extended the deadline.

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The earlier cut-off date was August 31, which would have also seen the service-providers shut operations by September 7.

A bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice KS Radhakrishnan said the court would seek an update on the order on January 13.

Ruling out more time, the court warned that the failure to meet the new deadline would invite "contempt" action against erring officials with "exemplary" cost.

No court in the country would entertain any plea on the issue, it said.

The government has been told to complete the bidding process, which commences November 12, in 60 days.

Within hours of the order, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT)  issued details of the auction.

Following charges of corruption, the court on February 2 cancelled all the 122 licences issued during the term of former telecom minister A Raja and ordered fresh auction by June 2.

The government sought 400 days to complete the process, but was given time till August 31.

Monday's order came after telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar filed an affidavit before the court.

The court expressed displeasure over the failure of the government to give an "outer limit" for completing the auction process.

"It's also a fact... that they (Centre) have not complied with the February 2 judgment," it said.

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