Delhi HC issues notice to Centre on Spectrum allocation

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today issued a notice to the Centre to clarify its stand on the procedure adopted to allocate Spectrum to contenders on a first-come-first served basis.

The petition filed by one Arvind Gupta stated that the Centre had allocated 2G spectrum to private parties at lower rates, causing a huge loss to the exchequer.

A bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidhar ordered the government to file its response within three weeks and posted the matter to December 10 for hearing.

The PIL alleged that the procedure followed by the government was not transparent, and was intended to benefit some private players in the telecom industry.

''The Telecom Ministry's deliberate inaction on the recommendations of the Finance Ministry, Prime Minister's Office and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has benefited private parties at the expense of the exchequer,'' the petitioner charged.

He also referred to an earlier judgement of the High Court delivered in 1993, which said, ''The basis of first come first served for allotment of time slots on satellite channels is arbitrary. It is unreasonable, unjust and unfair.'' Mr Gupta questioned the government's intention of not following a competitive bidding procedure and allocating spectrum to people who were not in the field of telecom.

''The proximity of real estate developers to corridors of the Department of Telecom has enabled them to overnight turn into telecom entrepreneurs. Indian real estate developers and infrastructure promoters have also become Indian telecom players,'' he alleged.

UNI SNG RJ RN2131

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