The Supreme Court of India (SCI) has rejected Vodafone India’s plea to extend the validity of the operator’s licences in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (East) circles. The operator’s licences in the seven circles will expire in December 2015.
Earlier, Vodafone had approached the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for an extension of these licences for a period of 10 years but DoT’s refusal made the telecom operator move to SC seeking interim relief against the decision.
The company argued the department has no legal right to put the allocated spectrum to auction as the service provider is entitled to extension of licences along with already allotted spectrum "on fair and reasonable terms" for its continued usage.
Vodafone had also requested the apex court to abstain DoT from selling the frequency airwaves in the 900 MHz band in these circles in the upcoming auction in February 2015. However, the court has rejected Vodafone’s request to put a stay.
In this regard, the court has stated that since the auction is a process and due only in February 2015, there would not be much progress expected in the process of auctioning till the next hearing date of the litigation. Therefore, any stay on the auction process is not required.