Supreme Court allows telecom spectrum auction results

The Supreme Court of India has allowed the central government to finalise the result of the just concluded biggest auction for telecom spectrum, which has fetched a total revenue of Rs 1.09 lakh crore (around $17 billion)

The auction is subject to a final order of the court, with telecom companies Bharti Hexacom Ltd and Reliance Telecom Ltd telling the top court they have challenged the “design of the notice inviting tender”, which required consideration of the court.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatagi told the court that the auction had been successful after a fierce competition. Bharti Airtel has taken the whole spectrum in the North East service area where 8.8 MHz was available for auction.

India’s telecom giants Airtel, Vodafone and Idea bid aggressively to protect their business as new telecom players like Reliance Jio participated in the auction lasting 19 days and 115 days of bidding among eight operators.

The court directed all the successful bidders to implead and give their stand on affidavit as they are obligation to do so. The court formed that the hearing will be held on April 16, and several other issues questioning the legality of the auction process would be examined.

“We are inclined to modify our order and give Union of India the liberty to finalise the auction and proceed further. All the successful bidders have to be instructed (by the government) that the auction on finalisation will be subject to the outcome of cases (before it),” the bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and P K Pant said.

“Needless to say that they (successful bidders) are under obligation as per the law for impleadment, as any order is likely to affect them,” the bench added.

There have been an ongoing modifications and disputes in the entire process. The Supreme Court this time hasn’t disclosed the name of the winner, and the next hearing of this case will take place on April 16.

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