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2G plea: government turns pragmatic

business Updated: May 09, 2012 23:07 IST
Manoj Gairola

The government's move to withdraw from the Supreme Court its review petition on the 2G verdict has now put all the focus on the Presidential reference.

On February 2, the Supreme Court ordered cancelling of 122 licences issued on or after January 10, 2008 as they were issued on a first-come-first-served (FCFS) basis. The verdict said that all natural resources should be distributed through auction.

"The review petition was accepted only for a very limited scope and would have gone to the same judge," said an official of the department of telecommunications (DoT). "A new bench of at least three judges will be constituted for the Presidential reference and it covers all the major issues that the government is looking for."

In its Presidential reference, the government has questioned whether the Supreme Court has gone beyond its domain while prescribing auction as the only means to distribute natural resources, which is basically a policy issue.

The Presidential reference also questions the court's take that an auction is the only route for distribution of natural resources. It has also pointed out that maximising revenue cannot be the sole criteria for distribution of resources.

A major issue before the government was the extension of deadline for auctioning of 2G spectrum. This was already taken care of as the court had extended the deadline by 80 days. So there was no urgency on the 2G review petition.

"Hence, the government can wait for the presidential reference," the official said.