NGO opposes Presidential reference in 2G scam

NGO opposes Presidential reference in 2G scam

Alleges govt indulges in forum shopping to continue corruption

An NGO pursuing a legal battle in the 2G scam has opposed the Presidential reference before the Supreme Court, saying that it was an act of ‘forum shopping’ by the government which wanted to continue with opaque and corrupt system of allocation of natural resources.

Terming the Presidential reference as “not maintainable”, the non-governmental organisation, CPIL, contended that the government has failed to point out as to “why it is opposed to auctioning scarce natural resources, and through what other methods it wishes to alienate them.”

“The government has indulged in ‘forum shopping’ by filing a Presidential Reference raising the same issues as were raised in its review petition in the 2G case, and then, withdrawing the review petition after all review petitions by telecom companies are dismissed.”

“It is a settled law that President or government cannot use the advisory jurisdiction of this Court to: (i) to seek review of any judgment, (ii) to seek an appeal of any judgment, (iii) to question the correctness of any judgment, and (iv) raise questions of law that have already been decided by this Court,” it said. The NGO is one of the petitioners on whose plea the apex court had on February 2 cancelled 122 licences of 2G spectrum granted to 122 companies during former Telecom Minister A Raja’s tenure.

“The government has still opted to file this reference so that it can continue with its opaque, inefficient and corrupt system of allocation of precious natural resources to big industrialists,” the response filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan said.

A five-member judge Constitution Bench had on May 11 issued notices to various parties including to all state governments and that of Union Territories on the Presidential reference.

Windfall profit

The reply to the notice alleged that scarce resources like minerals were being given away at a fraction of their market price giving windfall profits to the corporates at the cost of the public exchequer.

“The mining scandals running into lakhs of crores of rupees (and the accompanying environmental destruction) in Karnataka, Goa, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh that have come out in public domain in recent times, are a direct result of mega-loot or plunder that is going on to exploit natural resources,” it said.

“Now the major scandals that involve lakhs of crores of rupees relate exclusively to the loss of revenue by the government as is highlighted in the recent CAG reports relating to 2G spectrum, coal scam or natural gas (KG-Basin). CAG has supported auctions for such natural resources,” it added.

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