SC Registry Rejects Centre’s Plea on 2G Spectrum Judgment

2G Spectrum_LegallySpeaking

The Supreme Court Registry reportedly declined to accept the Centre’s plea for modifying its 2012 verdict in the 2G spectrum case.

The 2012 ruling had stipulated that the State must utilize the auction route when transferring or disposing of the nation’s natural resources.

Sources indicate that the apex court registry dismissed the government’s plea as “misconceived,” deeming it an effort to essentially seek a review of the judgment under the guise of clarification.

Supreme Court Rules

The Registrar declined to receive it in accordance with the provisions of Order XV Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013.

The SC rule states that the Registrar can reject a petition if it lacks reasonable cause, is frivolous, or contains scandalous matter. However, the petitioner can appeal this decision to the Court within 15 days. According to this, the Centre can appeal against the Registrar’s order.

2012 Verdict

On February 2, 2012, the apex court annulled 2G spectrum licenses issued to various firms during A Raja’s tenure as the telecom minister in January 2008. On April 22, Attorney General R Venkataramani, representing the Centre, mentioned an application before a bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala. Urging the urgent listing of the application, the Attorney General informed the bench that the plea seeks modification of the 2012 verdict as the Centre intends to grant 2G spectrum licenses in other cases too. The Centre, in its plea, requests exemption from auctioning the 2G spectrum for non-commercial purposes in exercising sovereign functions. It seeks clarifications allowing the government to consider spectrum assignment through an administrative process if determined through due process, or if auctioning is not preferred due to technical or economic reasons.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, one of the petitioners in the February 2012 verdict, opposed the application. He argued that the apex court has settled the issue by ruling that auction is the sole mode for granting licenses for natural resources like spectrum.

“We will see, you please move an email,” the CJI told the Attorney General. In its 2012 judgment, the apex court emphasized the state’s duty to ensure a non-discriminatory method, such as a duly publicized auction, for distribution and alienation of scarce natural resources like spectrum.


On March 22 this year, the Delhi High Court admitted a CBI appeal against the acquittal of Raja and 16 others in the 2G spectrum allocation case, enabling a hearing after six years. Acknowledging the CBI’s appeal, the high court noted “some contradictions” in the trial court’s judgment requiring “deeper examination”.

A special court acquitted Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, and others on December 21, 2017, in the CBI and ED cases related to the 2G spectrum allocation. On March 20, 2018, the CBI approached the high court, contesting the special court’s judgment.

The CBI alleged a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in the allocation of licenses for 2G spectrum, which were annulled by the apex court on February 2, 2012.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte