Can’t fetter executive to auction resources: SCAugust 7th, 2012 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday said that under the separation of powers between the three organs of the state, it could not fetter the executive to follow auction as the only method of allocating natural resources.
Hearing a presidential reference related to the 2G spectrum allotment case verdict, the court said that it could not hold that other methods of allocation of natural resources were devoid of constitutional authority.
“We have separation of powers, can we fetter the executive or the legislature with something that is not mandated by the constitution,” the court asked senior counsel Shanti Bhushan appearing for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) which is opposing the presidential reference.
“You are asking to put fetter on the powers of the executive,” said the apex court constitution bench.
If the executive or the legislature provided for methods other than the auction for the allocation of natural resources, then will it not be within the constitutional authority, the court asked.
The apex court constitution bench comprising Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice D.K. Jain, Justice J.S. Khehar, Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ranjan Gogoi was hearing a presidential reference whether auction was the only method of allocating natural resources as held by the top court in its 2G verdict in February.
Bhushan, who wanted the court to return the reference unanswered, contended that the apex court had unlimited powers.
The top court could not be constrained by any limitation if it was satisfied that a particular method of first come, first served for allocating natural resources was not free from arbitrariness, discrimination and corruption.
“The time has come when this court should say that there is no limitation to the authority of the apex court,” Bhushan said.
“The breach of public trust was the only touchstone to find out whether a judgment was correct or not. Whether it serves the public interest. The 2G judgment serves the principle of public trust as it has put a total stop on corruption in the allocation of natural resources,” the senior counsel told the court.
“If the Supreme Court while answering the presidential reference cast any doubt on the 2G verdict, then it would be a breach of trust that the people have reposed in the court,” he said.
Responding to the query by the court as to where was the constitutional backing for the auction being the only method for the allocation of natural resources, Bhushan said that the state was the trustee of the natural resources and by providing equal opportunity as provided under Article 14, it should allocate natural resources through auction to maximise benefits to the people.
The presidential reference is rooted in the 2G verdict wherein the apex court said that if scarce natural resources like spectrum were to be alienated by the state, then the only legal method was transparent public auction.
The apex court in its 2G verdict had cancelled 122 2G licences embedded with spectrum which were allocated in breach of policy.
- Government panel wants natural resources' auction, SC told - Jul 11, 2012
- NGO wants SC to reject presidential reference in 2G case (Lead) - Jul 10, 2012
- Panel favoured auction of resources, Swamy tells SC (Lead) - Aug 14, 2012
- Panel favoured auction of resources, Swamy tells SC - Aug 14, 2012
- Revenue not the only aim of resource allocation, SC told (Lead) - Jul 20, 2012
- NGO wants SC to reject presidential reference in 2G case - Jul 10, 2012
- Don't touch policy-making power, Chhattisgarh tells SC - Aug 01, 2012
- Can't interfere in policy matters, centre tells SC - Jul 25, 2012
- Auction of resources would hit investments, apex court told (Lead) - Jul 18, 2012
- Auction can't be only mode of alloting resources, SC told (Lead) - Jul 12, 2012
- 2G: SC to hold hearing on presidential reference (Lead) - Jul 18, 2012
- Apex court to take up presidential reference on natural resources - May 11, 2012
- Auction of resources rational option, apex court told (Second Lead) - Jun 04, 2012
- Auction of resources would hit investments, SC told - Jul 17, 2012
- Apex court receives presidential reference on 2G (Lead) - Apr 12, 2012
Tags: allotment, apex, apex court, bhushan, chief justice, constitution bench, constitutional authority, dipak, gogoi, jain, kapadia, misra, natural resources, New Delhi, public interest litigation, public trust, ranjan, senior counsel, separation of powers, touchstone