SC dismisses case challenging govt’s conditions for spectrum auction in 2015
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a case challenging the tender conditions set by the Central government for the spectrum auction held in 2015.
The court’s ruling will have no bearing on the licences granted.
Several pleas were clubbed together, including an appeal by the Central government against a 2015 Tripura high court order that had allowed Bharti Hexacom Ltd and Reliance Telecom Ltd to place bids of 4.4 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum, instead of the minimum 5MHz requirement set by the government for the auction.
Telcos had also sought clarity on how topping up option for existing licence-holders would work as per the 2015 tender conditions.
Telecom service providers such as Idea Cellular Ltd, Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd, Reliance Telecom and Bharti Airtel had moved various high courts challenging the notice inviting application that set tender conditions, claiming that the norms were unduly favourable to existing license holders.
In February 2015, the apex court had stayed proceedings in Karnataka, Allahabad and Delhi high courts and transferred the cases to itself, refusing to stay the auction.
The government is said to have earned almost Rs1.1 trillion from the sale of spectrum in 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz and 2,100MHz bands after 115 rounds of bidding for 19 days in March 2015.
Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular combined had bid for spectrum to the tune of Rs90,000 crore.