The government today expressed a huge sigh of relief with the Supreme Court clarifying that the earlier order on natural resources was limited only to the telecom sector.
"It is a matter of huge relief for the government. It is a matter of being vindicated on what we are trying to say again and again," Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said at a press conference in New Delhi.
A 2 February 2012 apex court order cancelled 122 2G licences raising doubts on the processes adopted by the government for the allocation of natural resources. Seeking clarification on the SC opinion, the Centre filed a Presidential Reference before the apex court under Article 143(1) of the Constitution on 12 April 2012.
In its verdict today, the five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia, Justice DK Jain, Justice JS Khehar, Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ranjan Gogoi, made some key points on the methods followed to allocate natural resouces, particularly auction.
"Auctions may be the best way of maximizing revenue but revenue maximization may not always be the best way to subserve public good," the court observed.
In another part of the verdict, the court said, "Auction is certainly not a constitutional mandate in the manner expressed, but it can surely be applied in some situations to maximize revenue returns, to satisfy legal and constitutional requirements."
Read the full judgement copy below: