The government on Tuesday virtually challenged the Supreme Court’s 2G verdict cancelling spectrum licences in February and said auction of natural resources would lead to “absurd consequences”.
Attorney general (AG) GE Vahanvati on Tuesday commenced arguments on behalf of the Centre before a constitution bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia, which is hearing its Presidential Reference, and contended that disposal of a natural resource depended on what type of resource was it.
“If fish in Kerala are auctioned, what will happen to the fishermen? The principle cannot apply to all natural resources,” argued Vahanvati, saying the public trust doctrine had no application outside environment matters.
The AG’s brief opening remarks gave fodder to the opposite side to question the maintainability of the Presidential Reference. Senior counsel and former attorney general Soli Sorabjee said the reference sought to "doubt on the correctness of the judgment" pronounced.
Appearing for NGO Centre for Public Interest and Litigation (CPIL), Sorabjee submitted the SC's reference jurisdiction could not be invoked to seek its opinion about the correctness of an earlier judgment. And if that was the object of the reference in 2G matter then it could not be entertained as it went against the established procedure to seek review of a verdict that is believed to be incorrect.
Sorabjee contended: “This court cannot be treated as a Government of India’s counsel to whom a case for opinion is sent and answers are sought to the queries raised in the case for opinion in the light of the proposed answers.”
The bench, however, sought to know from Sorabjee whether it could entertain the reference in wake of the doubt raised over "interpretation" of law in the judgement.