New Delhi: Delhi high court has quashed the department of telecom notification fixing 25 September, 2007 as cut-off date for granting telecom licenses bundled with startup 2G spectrum.
The court at the same time asked the DoT to consider Chennai-based S Tel’s application to start operations in 16 circles.
Justice G S Sistani held that the DoT could not arbitrarily fix a cut off date for capping the number for licenses bundled startup spectrum and quashed the press note issued on 10 October, 2008 regarding this.
“The respondent has failed to satisfy the court as to how any public interest would be affected in the matter. The impugned press release dated 10, October, 2008 is quashed,” Justice Sistani said.
Earlier, the deadline for allocation of license was 1 October, 2007. However, in January 2008, DoT had amended the criteria and said that due to a large number of applications, requests prior to 25 September, 2007 would be considered only.
Rejecting it, the court said,“the DoT could not be allowed to arbitrarily change the cut-off date and that too without any justifiable reasons.”
The court’s direction came over a petition filed by Chennai-based S Tel, whose application for license in 16 circles was turned down as it had applied on 28 September, 2007, three days after the cut-off date.
The court directed DoT to consider the application of S-Tel submitted on 28, September, 2007 for operations in 16 circles.
“The DoT is directed to consider the applications of S Tel on 28 September, 2007,” the court.
The court also pulled up DoT over taking contrary stand against Telcom Regulatory Authority of India recommendation.
“On one hand DoT has accepted the recommendation of the Trai in the impugned press note, but acted contrary there to by amending the cut-off date and thus placed a cap on the number of same providers,” the court said.
It also rejected DoT’s argument that the date was advanced keeping in view a large number of applicants.
“It is without any force in view of the fact that neither any justification was rendered during argument nor any justification has been rendered in the counter affidavit as to what is the effect of the receipt of large number of applications in view of the fact that a recommendation of the Trai suggests no cap on the number of access service provider in any service,” the court said.