Pooja Sareen, Student, Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication

Supreme Court today cancelled 122 telecom licences allotted by A. Raja in 2008. With this it also ruled that 85 out of the 122 licences were outside the eligibility criteria for allocation. All these licenses were granted in an arbitrary and unconstitutional manner. Judgements were delivered by Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly.

The court said that the allocation of the 2G spectrum under Raja was “wholly arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to public interest apart from being violative of the doctrine of equality” to “favour some companies at the cost of the public exchequer”. It also criticised the Trai’s role in the entire episode saying that the regulator’s approach was “lopsided” and “contrary to the decision taken by the Council of Ministers” and its recommendations became a “handle” for Raja who “virtually gifted away the important national asset at throw away prices”. The court said, National resources be always be used in the interest of the country and not private interests,”

 The 122 licences for 2G spectrum were granted in an arbitrary and unconstitutional manner include

 Uninor was granted 22 licences all over India.

Loop telecom was granted 21 licences all over India except Mumbai.

– Siestema Shyam was granted 21 licences all over India except Rajasthan.

– Tata telecom was granted three licences in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and Northeast.

– Etilsalat DB was granted 15 licences in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh East, and Uttar Pradesh West.

S-Tel was granted six licences in Assam, Northeast, Bihar, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir.

– Videocon was granted 21 licences all over India except Punjab.

– Idea was granted nine licences in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kolkata, Northeast, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

– Spice (Idea) was granted four licences in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi,Haryana and Maharashtra.

 Supreme Court said that, “the new licenses will have to be allotted by an auction of spectrum, it has given telecom regulator TRAI four months to frame the guidelines for this process. Till then, its order on the cancellation of the licenses will not apply.