The Centre on Thursday filed a presidential reference before the Supreme Court in the 2G spectrum case and sought to know, among other things, the “permissible scope for interference by courts”.
The reference, signed by President Pratibha Patil, raises eight questions on issues arising out of the court’s February 2 judgment that cancelled 122 2G spectrum licences granted by the then telecom minister A Raja and found fault with the government’s first-come-first-serve policy.
The reference seeks a clarification on whether the judgment will have retrospective effect and whether auction is the only permissible method for disposal of natural resources.
It also seeks to know if the court’s order amounts to policy-making: “Whether the enunciation of a broad principle, even though expressed as a matter of constitutional law, does not really amount to formulation of a policy and has the effect of unsettling policy decisions formulated?”
Moved under the Supreme Court's special advisory jurisdiction envisaged in the Constitution, the reference asks "whether, if the court holds, within the permissible scope of judicial review, that a policy is flawed, the court is not obliged to take into account investments made under the said policy, including investments made by foreign investors under multilateral/bilateral agreements?"
It also wants to know the effect on 3G spectrum acquired by entities, through auction, whose licences have been quashed by the February verdict. Furthermore, the reference seeks advice on whether the government, in the wake of the verdict, should allot spectrum at auction-discovered price and also impose a ceiling on its acquisition.