The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the Centre's plea to grant it 400 days to complete the process of fresh auctioning of 122 2G spectrum licences that stand cancelled subsequent to a court order.
A bench of justices GS Singhvi and KS Radhakrishnan, however, gave some respite to the government by extending its deadline to hold auction of 2G spectrum from June 2 to August 31, 2012. The court said the existing licences for 2G spectrum would continue to operate till September 7, 2012.
When attorney general GE Vahanvati pressed for the plea of 400 days, the bench retorted: "You ask for 400 days. That is your prayer. How much time did you take to complete the process in 2008? All this could have been avoided if a little effort had been made. We are not in a position to believe that government of India officials are so naive that they did not know the price of spectrum."
Referring to the calculation made by the department of telecommunication in the grant of spectrum for 4.4 MHz and 6.2 MHz, the court said: "We are not going to accept the prayer for 400 days … The government was alive and aware that something wrong has happened."
Before ordering extension of time, the bench said it was granting the relief because it wasn't possible to analyse the auction by June 1. "In our view, it will be just to partially accept the averments made in the application (by the Centre)."