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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016
Legal Article



Questioning the authority of the Supreme Court to insist that the only way to transfer a natural resource is by auction, the Centre wants the court to re-consider whether it had not encroached into government territory by declaring the first-come-first-serve (FCFS) policy as " per se flawed".

In a review petition filed by the Government against the February 2, 2012 verdict quashing the grant of 122 UAS licences and allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008 by Raja-run Telecom Ministry, the Government said a policy decision to allocate spectrum could not have been the subject- matter of judicial review. It said that weighing and balancing of different values and considerations - is in the exclusive jurisdiction of the Government. Courts can neither don the role of a policy maker nor be expected to have any expertise in it.

To say the least, the stand of the Government is not only atrocious, but also appalling. When the whole country knows what went behind the allocation of licenses, where, the then Communication Minister, defied the Law, Finance Minister and Prime Minister in throwing away spectrum at dirt cheap rate, the Government is still trying to justify indirectly that what he did was right, whether it was preponing the date of receipt of tenders and advancing cut off date or any other extraneous considerations.

It is almost devil citing scriptures to justify his activities, when the Government questions the Supreme Court saying: "When it comes to alienation of scarce natural resources like spectrum etc., the State must always adopt a method of auction by giving wide publicity so that all eligible persons may participate in the process. Any other methodology for disposal of public property and natural resources/national assets is likely to be misused by unscrupulous people who are only interested in garnering maximum financial benefit and have no respect for the constitutional ethos and values..We have no doubt that if the method of auction had been adopted for grant of licence which could be the only rational transparent method for distribution of national wealth, the nation would have been enriched by many thousand crores."

It is inexcusable, for reasons unknown to the common man as to how the Government could question the above sensible premises, particularly when the Big Fish are or have been in jail for malfeasance and have been chargesheeted by the CBI. One Tele communication Minister is in jail and against the other a CBI case has been registered and has resigned, apart from a Rajya Sabha lady MP having spent more than 8 months in jail.

For decades, food wastage has been a serious problem in the country, without any ostensible action by the Government. The Supreme Court order of August 12, 2010 had directed the Central Government to ensure free distribution of grain that would have otherwise rotted in godowns. The government was not asked to feed for free all the poor across the country.

Instead of taking action, the Government missed the point, when the PM said on 6 th September, 2010, "I respectfully submit that the Supreme Court should not go into the realm of policy formulation," almost politely telling the Court to keep away from what he perceived as the exclusive governmental turf. "It is not possible in this country to give free food to all the poor people." Obviously, the Government does not care if it rots or is eaten by the rats, rather than the poor of India.

It is interesting that rulers have maintained a discreet to politically expedient silence, when, what is needed is action. The country is being looted left, right and centre. What is needed is to strike mercilessly on the corrupt . But for the Apex Court and left it to itself, the Government has followed the usual route of setting up a commission or a court of inquiry, whether it was the 2G, or Common Wealth or Adarsh Housing Scam.

The Government has been dogged by a series of corruption scandals. On the cash-for-vote- scam, the Supreme Court criticised the police for carrying out a "shoddy probe", which obviously had Government's hand. Even a person, who was facing a trial, was appointed as the Central Vigilance Commissioner, that is India's Chief Anti-Corruption Watch Dog and the Supreme Court had to intervene to declare the appointment as null and void . Illegal mining and high level corruption has recently cost the life of a young IPS Officer in Madhya Pradesh. Still Central Government has not put its weight behind the Supreme Court Orders of September, 2006 for police reforms.

The anti-corruption report on mining in Karnataka found that the promoters of privately owned mining companies in the Bellary region - where most of the mines are located - paid off politicians, and then joined politics themselves, rising to positions in the State Government.

These mining businessmen-turned-politicians exerted so much influence over the local officials that the Indian media began describing Bellary as a "new republic".

Political parties, irrespective of their hue, take only their needs of survival into consideration, not the fairplay or justice. Unfortunately, our country is a nation of laws, badly written and randomly enforced.

The Supreme Court has ensured and shown us the right path of Justice.

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