The recent failure of the 2G spectrum auctions has brought to the fore serious questions on auctions being the only mode for allocation of spectrum. It was reported that as against the expectation ofRs.40,000 crore, the Government received bids for just Rs. 9,224 crore. The turnout was so weak that only 18 of the 22 telecom circles received a bid.
The auctions were conducted in fulfilment of the mandate given by the Supreme Court — that for spectrum, auctions were the only equitable manner for allocation.
This was first held by the Supreme Court in its judgment in CPIL and Others vs Union of India and Others (“the 2G case”), where the Court set aside the 122 spectrum licences that were allotted on a first-come-first-served basis, and went so far as to declare that for spectrum and all natural resources, auctions would be the only method for allocation that would fulfil the constitutional requirements of fairness, equality and transparency guaranteed in Article 14.
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