NEW DELHI (TIP): The Supreme Court on May 14 turned down pleas by various telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Telecom, for extension of their 2G spectrum licences, which expired in November last year.

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and R K Agrawal upheld the Centre’s decision, saying the court should respect the mandate and wisdom of the executive in the matter of choosing the most suitable method of distribution of natural resources.

“The impugned decision of the government, which in fact resulted in huge inflow of revenue in the auctions conducted during the pendency of this litigation, cannot be said to be a totally irrational or irrelevant consideration in the context of the spectrum management, more particularly, in the light of decision of this court in 2G case,” the court said.

The telecom companies had contended that they secured the licences in 1994-95 through a transparent process of bidding and under the terms of the contract, they had a right to have their claim for extension.

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