SC verdict stares everyone in the face


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All the 2G scam accused walked free on Thursday, but a 2012 Supreme Court verdict seems to show a different picture.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly (both now retired), in its February 2, 2012 judgement, noted that the exercise undertaken by the officers of the department of telecommunication between September 2007 and March 2008 in allocation of licences, under the then minister A Raja’s leadership, was "wholly arbitrary, capricious and contrary to public interest, apart from being violative of the doctrine of equality".

Raja had introduced the cut-off date of September 25, 2007 for consideration of the applications received for grant of licence, despite the fact that only one day prior to this, a press release was issued by his department fixing October 1, 2007 as the last date for receipt of the applications.

"This arbitrary action of the minister, while appearing to be innocuous, actually benefited some real estate companies, who did not have any experience in dealing with telecom services," the top court had found.

The manner in which the exercise for grant of letters of intent to the applicants was conducted on January 10, 2008 leaves no room for doubt that everything was stage-managed to favour those who were able to know in advance the change in the implementation of the first-come-first-served policy, the court had said.

Some companies which had submitted applications in 2004 and 2006 were pushed down in terms of priority and those who had applied between August and September 2007 were instead preferred, entitling them to the allocation of spectrum, it had noted.

Acting on a PIL by the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation and Subramanian Swamy, the court had then cancelled 122 licences - an action that had a huge impact on the political and economic development in the country.

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