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    Govt not to challenge 2G order, limited review likely

    Published on February 29, 2012

    New Delhi : The government will not challenge the Supreme Court decision to cancel 122 telecom licences issued, Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar said on Wednesday but indicated that a limited review of the decision may be sought.

    “We are not looking at challenging the cancellation of the licences per se,” Chandrashekhar told reporters on the sidelines of a Ficci event in New Delhi.

    The government has one month from the date of the apex court’s February 2 judgement to file a review petition and Chandrashekhar said a decision will be taken before that.

    “… by the end of this week, we expect to be able to take the key decisions… all legal options are on the table at this point,” he said.

    Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had previously stated that the judgement had ramifications on several other sectors of the economy where natural resources like mines are allocated on the Supreme Court-condemned first-come-first-serve basis.

    “There are a number of issues that arise from the Supreme Court order and these require careful analysis which is what we are doing… not only analysis of the issue but what are the legal options in terms of actions that can be taken,” Chandrashekhar said.

    Idea Cellular and Tata Teleservices have already moved the apex court seeking review of the judgement.

    In its order cancelling the 122 telecom licences, the Supreme Court had asked the government to conduct an auction for spectrum within four months.

    The government is contemplating a timeline of 400 days for the completion of auction process.

    “The 400 day timeline has taken into account all the decision making involved including estabilishing committees, payment and assignment of frequencies and allocation of spectrum,” he said.

    The secretary, however, refused to divulge if they will seek an extension from the apex court.

    “We need to understand whether the SC has set up a particular timeline for the auction. There are different views on this aspect,” he said.

    On being asked if the dual technology licences issued after 2008 would also be impacted by the SC judgement, he said there are a number of issues that arise from the SC order which require careful analysis “which is what we are doing”.

    Asked about Sistema’s notice to the government, Chandrashekhar said, “The party involved has a right to look at whatever are the legal options available to them … obviously the DoT would have to also take its own advice and come to its own conclusion.”

    Invoking bilateral investment treaty yesterday, Russian conglomerate Sistema has asked the government to resolve within six months the dispute related to the cancellation of 21 telecom licences of its local joint venture.


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