DoT to see legal implications of SC order before any action
The department of telecom will study the legal implications of the Supreme Court order cancelling 122 2G telecom licenses before deciding on the future course of action.
"DoT has to first study legal implications of the order. It will require some time to understand and interpret the order before deciding on any action. As of now, we understand that the court has given some time by which the order has to be implemented," a DoT official said.
Last week, the apex court ordered the cancellation of 22 licences of Uninor (a joint venture between Unitech and Telenor of Norway), 21 of Loop, 21 of Sistema-Shyam (a joint venture between Shyam and Sistema of Russia), 15 of Etisalat DB (a joint venture between Swan and Etisalat of the UAE), six of S Tel and 21 of Videocon, besides three of the Tatas and nine belonging to Idea Cellular.
Asked whether the government is contemplating a review petition in the Supreme Court, sources declined to comment.
The new licences bundled with 2G spectrum (4.4 Mhz) were issued by former Telecom Minister A Raja in January, 2008, for Rs 1,658 crore for a pan-India licence.
When asked about the process for termination of licences and refund of fees deposited by telecom operators whose licences have been struck down by the apex court, the official said it is too early to say what action the DoT will take.
"As I see, the licences stand cancelled. The DoT has to follow the Supreme Court order, but we need to understand first what the department has to do. It will be decided only after all points of judgement are understood and legal interpretation is complete," the official said.
Telecom operators have claimed that they made huge investments in acquiring licenses and on infrastructure for rolling out services.
Sistema-Shyam claims to have invested over USD 2.5 billion (about Rs 12,500 crore) and Telenor claims to have already invested over Rs 6,100 crore in equity and over Rs 8,000 crore in corporate guarantees as a foreign investor that trusts a licence stamped by the government of India.
These two companies have asserted that they would take legal measures to protect their investments on Indian operations, with Telenor also evaluating an "alternative" plan to quit India.