Can’t reject Presidential reference as ‘malafide’: SC
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it cannot peremptorily reject the presidential reference on the 2G spectrum verdict as "malafide", intended by the government to thwart transparency in the allocation of natural resources of the country.
The court made the observation when advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), said "the basic object of the government in filing the reference is to continue with this opaque, non-competitive and arbitrary method of allocation of natural resources like minerals, oil etc to favoured companies at throwaway prices. Therefore, this is one additional reason for which this malafide reference should be rejected".
"We cannot reject the reference on the ground that it is malafide and misleading. The last sentence is unwarranted," said Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia who heads the five-judge bench.
On the second day of arguments on the presidential reference, CPIL and Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said the government was simply seeking to pass the buck instead of implementing the order to auction the spectrum.
The reference on the 2G spectrum verdict is just a ruse by the government to "outsource" its executive functions to the judiciary, and will create an "impediment" to the criminal trial underway involving former telecom minister A Raja, the apex court was told. Swamy said the propositions laid down in the Supreme Court's February 2 verdict is in public interest and the reference can be returned unanswered.
The Bench asked him whether he thinks the verdict deals only with the auction of spectrum or is dictating auction as a mandatory mode for allocation of all natural resources.
To this, Swamy replied, "Value means auction, auction means transparency. So far it is the only way to ensure transparency," adding that the judgment extended to all natural resources.
Arguing on the maintainability of the reference, he said the Centre lost the judicial forum for addressing its grievances when it withdrew its review petition against the February 2 verdict. Again, he cautioned that these proceedings may have a "deep impact on the trial".
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