New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday decided to hold hearing on the presidential reference to answer whether all natural resources other than the telecom spectrum could be allocated only through auction.
After a five-day-long hearing on the maintainability of the reference, the apex court constitution bench said while answering the reference it would also decide the question of its maintainability.
The court asked Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati to commence Thursday his arguments on the merits of presidential reference.
On the conclusion of the arguments on the maintainability of the Presidential reference, Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia presiding over the constitution bench said that they would decide on the maintainability and the issues raised in the presidential reference.
Besides Chief Justice Kapadia, others on the constitution bench are Justice D.K. Jain, Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Chief Justice Kapadia said: We have to decide whether in substance they want the reconsideration of 2G verdict and then decide the question of maintainability and for this we have to hear them (central government and industries' associations) on merit.
Senior counsel Soli Sorabjee, appearing for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), told the court to return the presidential reference unanswered as its question number six clearly stated there was no doubt in the mind of the government and in effect what they were seeking was the reconsideration of the 2G verdict.
The question six of the reference says whether the judgment (2G) is to be given retrospective effect so as to unsettle all licences issued and 2G spectrum allocated in and after 1994 and prior to Jan 10, 2008.
It was Jan 10, 2008, that the 122 telecom licences were issued by then telecom minister A. Raja which were cancelled by the apex court by its 2G verdict Feb 2.
Chief Justice Kapadia pointed to the court's preference to hear the matter on merits so as to understand the views of the central government.
Appearing for CPIL, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan contested the contention that the court in its 2G verdict could not have laid a principle of law with general applicability on the allocation of natural resources if the same was not pleaded and argued before it.