This Article is From Sep 27, 2012

Supreme Court decision on auction of natural resources: Who said what

Supreme Court decision on auction of natural resources: Who said what
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today clarified that it does not believe that all national resources must be auctioned - the opinion, delivered by five judges, provides relief for the government, partly because it accepts that the government has the right to decide policy, and also because it emphasised that "revenue maximisation cannot be the only way to serve common good."

Here is what some prominent voices are saying about the Supreme Court's decision:

V Narayanasamy, Minister of State on the Prime Minister's Office: Today's decision is a vindication of Prime Minister's stand. The CAG should work within its mandate. It's easy to give loss figures but the CAG can interfere in policy. Today's judgement strengthens the hands of the Government. The BJP should apologise to the nation.

Anand Sharma, Commerce Minister: There has been lots of confusion. The issue of governance has come under stress. People are using these new technologies. There are so many schemes. Will you expect that they will buy the land in auctions? It is the maximisation of public goods but not public interest. There were no constitutional mandate for auction. Today's decision was made keeping public good in mind. Public interest and public good cannot be subservient to revenue maximisation.

Kapil Sibal, Telecom Minister: We will follow the timeline to auction the spectrum released. The judgement on cancellation of 122 telecom licenses will be implemented. We have not questioned the cancellation of licenses; the Supreme Court made it clear that the government is the responsible for policy. There is no constitutional provision that mandates auction. I just want to say that at last we have clarity on the issue; whether it is a vindication of this or that is not for me to say.

Salman Khurshid, Law Minister and senior Congress leader: Supreme Court verdict on natural resources vindicates the government's stand. What the court has said will give us comfort.

Chandan Mitra, Member of Parliament, BJP: I am astounded that the Congress has the temerity to do bhangra at this judgment. What are they jumping with joy for? The court has delivered a stinging slap on the government for looting the country; the arbitrariness is loud and clear in coal.

Prashant Bhushan, lawyer and activist:
The court today said if the natural resources is given to a private company for commercial exploitation, it has to be through auction. It cannot be laid down as a general proposition of law that all natural resources must only be given by auction.

Mohandas Pai, Chairman Manipal Global Education Services Private Limited:
I think this will shut the door for the government for arbitrary decisions and crony capitalism. The process of price discovery will have to be transparent and not like what we saw in coal gate - where people got coal blocks at throwaway prices and sold power at market rates.

Rajeev Dhavan, Constitutional Law Expert: This opinion has given clarification on the rigidity of the 2G judgment. Courts have relied on opinions given by the Supreme Court. This is a guide for the government to carry on.