As per SC rules, the Presidential Reference is heard in an open court by a larger bench constituted by the Chief Justice. However, it is not obligatory for the court to give its opinion referred to it by the President as had happened in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case.
Whether auction is the only permissible method for disposal of all natural resources across all sectors?
Whether the enunciation of a broad principle amounts to formulation of a policy, having the effect of unsettling decisions already
If the court holds that a policy is flawed, is it not obliged to take into account investments made under the said policy, including those by foreign investors?
Whether the broad proposition of law, that only the auction route can be resorted to, does not run contrary to several judgements of the SC?
How far can the courts interfere with the government’s policy-making process?
If the SC’s opinion on the five questions affirms its judgement, then the following questions arise: (i) Will the judgement apply retrospectively, unsettling all licences issued and 2G bands allocated between 1994 and January 10, 2008? Does it affect dual-technology licences granted in 2007 and 2008? (ii) Can the government take any action to alter the terms of any licence to ensure a level playing field among all existing licensees? (iii) Will the government have to withdraw the allocated spectrum or charge for it with retrospective effect and, if so, on what basis and from what date?
Will the government be allowed to: (i) Make provision for allotment of spectrum from time to time at the auction-discovered price and in accordance with the laid down criteria during the period of validity of the auctiondetermined price? (ii) Cap the acquisition of spectrum to avoid emergence of dominance in the market, duly taking into consideration TRAI’s recommendation in this regard? (iii) Make provision for allocation of spectrum at auction-related prices in bands where there may be inadequate or no competition (for example, CDMA)?
Does the judgement affect 3G spectrum acquired by entities whose 2G licences have been quashed?