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Report: Supreme Court Rejects Administrative Spectrum Allocation

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In Short:

The Supreme Court of India has rejected the government’s request to allow administrative allocation of spectrum in special cases, emphasizing that spectrum can only be allocated through auction to maintain transparency. The court dismissed the government’s application seeking a review of the order passed in 2012 related to the 2G Spectrum Scam case. This decision is a setback for the government’s plan to boost the private satcom sector in India.

Supreme Court Rejects Government’s Request for Administrative Allocation of Spectrum

The Supreme Court (SC) of India has declined the government’s plea to allow administrative allocation of spectrum in special cases. The government had been exploring the possibility of allocating spectrum to satellite communication (satcom) companies through a non-auction route, a move supported by the satcom companies but opposed by others.

However, the Supreme Court registrar has dismissed this request, affirming that spectrum will only be allocated through auctions to entities in India. This decision aligns with the apex court’s 2012 ruling following the 2G scam case, which mandated transparent spectrum allocation through auctions.

Registrar Deems Government’s Application as Misconceived

The SC registrar stated, “I refuse to receive the present miscellaneous application (MA) as it does not disclose any reasonable cause for being entertained.” The government sought a review of the SC’s order, but lacking substantial grounds, the application was rejected. The registrar emphasized that bringing up the matter after a significant time lapse from the previous ruling did not warrant consideration.

According to an ET report, the registrar further remarked, “I am of the considered view that the application is misconceived and liable to be declined to be received.” This refusal by the SC represents a setback for the government’s efforts to bolster the private satcom sector in India.

Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea Support Auction-Based Spectrum Allocation

Major telecom companies like Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have welcomed the SC’s decision, as they advocated for the fair allocation of spectrum through auctions. They were against the administrative allocation of airwaves and believe that an auction process ensures a level playing field for all companies.

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