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Plea by Telecom majors like, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, etc seeking extension of spectrum licence, rejected by Supreme Court

New Delhi: The batch petitions seeking extension of existing spectrum licences, filed by several Telecom entities, like Vodafone, Bharti Airtel were dismissed by the honourable Apex Court of India, by holding them merit less.

The Hon’ble Top Court’s Bench headed by Justice, J. Chelameswar, made the final order of dismissal in the said bunch of petitions. It was also made clear that, for the similar petitions seeking extension of spectrum licences of already 20 years, for more 10 years’ period, the Top Court had reserved its verdict. Along with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone mobile Services, the Idea Cellular and Loop Mobile India were also petitioners in such extension matters.

In the petitions sought by the leading Telecom Companies, a common challenge was sought against the decision of the Government where the Government had rejected their applications in relation to the extension of their spectrum licences and sought auctioning the spectrum surrendered by them.

While so, the plea of the Telecom entities were that the earlier spectrum license held by them for the period of 20 year, were containing certain terms and condition in which one was also relating the extension of such licence which will for further period of ten years. However, denying the said plea, the Government contended that the term and condition relating to such extension is not mandatory as it was mentioning the word ‘may extend’, which in its interpretation is having discretionary authority to extend the further period.

Earlier there was a claim as to grant of Stay which was sought by the said Telecom Entities as against the proceedings of Auction of Spectrum licenses, however the same was rejected by the honourable Top Court on 23rd day of March, this year, however, the case was not totally denied and it was agreed to hear as expeditiously as possible, but for taking part in the said auction, the said telecom Companies were permitted irrespective of their claim to spectrum license extension. The said plea for stay was sought with the reason that the spectrum, for which earlier 20-year licence has expired, should not be put on the block.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.