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India court says no to review of 2G licence revoke

Supreme Court rejects pleas of seven telcos to reconsider its cancellation of 122 2G licenses, but agrees to open court hearing of government petition over auction proceedings, reports say.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

Indian courts have denied the requests of seven telcos to review its judgement in the country's 2G scam, where it had decided to cancel all 122 licenses issued since 2008, reports say. However it agrees to open court hearing of auction proceedings which could set a precedent for other industries.

According to Times of India in a report Thursday, the review petitions were heard in chamber on Tuesday. The petitions were filed by Tata Teleservices, Videocon Telecommunications, S Tel, Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Unitech Wireless, Etisalat DB Telecom and Idea cellular. The 2G licences were revoked on grounds of alleged graft by the minister in charge over its allocation.

The court, was quoted by the news daily, saying: "We have carefully perused the record of the case and are satisfied that the judgment of which review has been sought does not suffer from any error apparent. In the garb of seeking review, the petitioner wants re-hearing of the case and we do not find any valid ground much less justification to entertain its prayer. The review petition is accordingly dismissed."

However, Times of India pointed out that the telcos did get a respite with the court's agreement to hear in open court on Apr. 13 a review petition from the central government against earlier orders for an auction of the cancelled licences.

The Indian daily noted that the fate of the review petition would set a precedent for several other sectors such as mining, where a first-come-first-served policy is currently used. It added that the central government had said that the country's constitution barred the court from deciding over it, as it was an exclusive policy domain under a branch of the parliament.

In an earlier report by ZDNet Asia, at least two telcos had said they were exploring their legal options, including invoking bilateral treaties to protect their investments. 

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