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Centre for Public Interest Litigation v. Union of India and others - (Supreme Court) (08 Apr 2016)

Reliance Jio’s 4G licence saved on ‘commercial realities’

Media and Communication

The Supreme Court dismissed a petition against the grant of a 4G licence to Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited for being grossly undervalued. The challenge was premised on the government having had sold spectrum for Rs. 1658 crore whereas a Comptroller and Auditor General report had valued it nearly 15 times higher. The Report had also recorded that licence fee was based on 2001 figures, though in the intervening 10 years market conditions had changed dramatically. The court declined interfering with government’s decision, mindful that “various policy decisions are taken at a point of time considering various technological options, policy objectives and regulatory framework’. Since 1998, it noted, call charges had fallen drastically and telecom penetration in the country itself was unfathomable over a decade ago. Also, the licence granted by the Ministry was of much lesser value than the spectrum itself.

Relevant : Centre for Public Interest Litigation and Ors. v. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. MANU/SC/0089/2012 Jal Mahal Resorts P. Ltd. vs. K.P. Sharma and Ors. MANU/SC/0467/2014 M.P. Oil Extraction and Anr. vs. State of M.P. and Ors. MANU/SC/1302/1997


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