SC seeks Centre's reply on PIL against 4G licences to Reliance

Tags: Companies
The Supreme Court today sought response of the Centre and telecom regulator TRAI on a PIL filed by an NGO challenging grant of 4G licences to Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL).

A bench of Justices H L Dattu and S A Bobde issued notice to the Centre, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and RJIL on the petition of NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), which challenged the government's decision to allow Mukesh Ambani's company to offer voice services on its 4G spectrum.

The PIL, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, also sought quashing of the permission granted by the Government to Reliance for providing voice telephony on Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum and pitched for a court-monitored CBI investigation in the alleged Rs 40,000 crore scam.

The petition said that the Centre's decision to allow voice telephony has given undue benefit of about Rs 22,842 crore to RJIL and corresponding loss to the Government and "is therefore arbitrary, unreasonable and discriminatory".

It also alleged that the company was allowed "backdoor entry" into voice telephony using BWA spectrum by paying entry fee of meagre amount of Rs 1,658 crore determined way back in 2001, a figure which has been rejected by the apex court in its February 2, 2012 judgement in 2G spectrum allocation scam case.

The petition sought court's direction to quash the March 2013 decision of the Centre, through Ministry of Communication and IT, under which it had allowed RJIL to provide voice telephonic services.

The petition said that the decision to not increase the Spectrum Usage Charges to the same level as is being paid by the other operators who provide voice telephony under UAS licence, is discriminatory.

"Issue appropriate writ directing a thorough court monitored investigation by an SIT or the CBI into the scam that is subject matter of this writ petition," it said.

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