New Delhi, Apr 4: The Supreme Court has decided to hear in open court the petition filed by the Centre seeking review of its verdict cancelling 122 licences for the 2G spectrum but dismissed all other petitions including that of seven telecom companies and former telecom minister A Raja.
The apex court, which decided to hear on April 13 the Centre’s plea seeking review of the February 2 verdict holding as unconstitutional the policy of first-come-first-served, however, rejected its plea to have a re-look into its findings that sanction for prosecution of public servants can be sought even prior to filing of complaints.
A Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan said Raja’s apprehension that his case in the trial court would be prejudiced due to the verdict cancelling the 2G licences is “not well founded”.
The companies whose review petitions were dismissed are Videocon Telecommunications Ltd, S Tel Ltd, Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd, Tata Teleservices Ltd, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd, Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd.
“We have carefully perused the review petition and the record of the case and are convinced that the judgment of which review has been sought does not suffer from any error apparent warranting its reconsideration,” the bench said while giving separate orders on the review petitions filed by the seven telecom companies.
While rejecting the Centre’s plea on the issue of sanction in which the Prime Minister’s Office was pulled up, the bench said its verdict did not suffer from any error and under the garb of review petition rehearing and reconsideration of the issue decided cannot be allowed.
“We have carefully perused the averments contained in the review petition and the grounds on which the petitioner (Centre) has sought review of the judgement and are convinced that the judgement of which review has been sought does not suffer from any error apparent warranting its re-consideration.“
“In the garb of review, the petitioner cannot seek re-hearing of the matter and re-consideration of the issues decided by the Court. The review petition is accordingly dismissed,” the bench said.
The bench dismissed the plea of Raja seeking a review of the verdict on grounds of violation of “principles of natural justice” and “judicial norms” that he was indicted without being heard.
“The apprehension expressed by the applicant (Raja) that the observations contained in various paragraphs of February 2, 2012 judgment will prejudicially affect his cause is not well-founded.
“Because in the judgement, it has been made clear that the observations contained in the judgment shall not prejudice any person including the applicant, who is facing prosecution in the cases registered by CBI or who may face prosecution on the basis of chargesheets which may be filed by CBI in future and the Special Judge, CBI, shall decide the matter uninfluenced by this judgment.
“It has also been made clear that the judgment shall not prejudice any person in the action which may be taken by other investigating agencies under the Income Tax Act, 1961, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, and other similar statutes.
“With the above observation, the review petition is dismissed,” the bench said.
While dealing with review petitions of seven telecom companies, the bench passed separate orders on each.
The bench said cancellation of 22 licences of Unitech Wireless, which was in a joint venture with Norway’s Telenor and operating under the brand name Uninor, “did not suffer from any legal infirmity warranting reconsideration of the issues decided therein.”
While disallowing the plea of Sistema Shyam Telservices, a joint venture between Russia’s Systema and India’s Shyam Telecom, which was granted 21 licences and is operating under the brand name MTS, the bench said “as a sequel to dismissal of the review petitions, the petitioner’s prayer for stay (of judgement) is rejected.”
Dismissing the plea of Videocon, which had filed two petitions seeking a review of the verdict cancelling its 21 licences, the bench said “in the garb of seeking a review, the petitioner wants re-hearing of the case and we do not find any valid ground, much less justification, to entertain its prayer.”
The bench also did not entertain a review of the judgement cancelling 15 licences granted to Swan Telecom, now Etisalat DB, a joint venture between India’s DB Group and UAE’s Etisalat.
Tata Teleservices Ltd’s plea for review of cancellation of its three licences granted in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and North East, was dismissed with the bench saying there was no need for reconsideration of the issue decided by it.
In the case of S Tel, the bench rejected its plea for permission to address oral arguments saying “the judgment of which review has been sought was decided after threadbare consideration of all the points raised during the course of hearing.”
It said S Tel’s plea for setting aside its directions and stay of the February 2 judgement are “thoroughly misconceived and cannot be entertained.”
The bench said the verdict against Idea Cellular Ltd, which was having 13 licences after its merger with Spice, did not suffer from any error apparent warranting its reconsideration.