New Delhi, Sept. 27 (PTI): The Supreme Court today said it was compelled to take “judicial notice” of allotment of natural resources as it had been the subject of “extensive” debate and led to the “washout” of two Parliament sessions.
The Constitution bench, however, refused to be drawn into the political debate.
“This court is not, and should never be seen to be, a part of that debate,” the bench said, but added that it could not shy away from its constitutional duty to set things right.
Justice J.S. Khehar, one of the judges on the bench, said it did seem the reference was aimed at “invoking this court’s advisory jurisdiction to iron out the creases, so that legal and constitutional parameters are correctly understood”.
The government had moved the reference in April following the court’s 2G judgment that made it mandatory to auction all natural resources.
“One is compelled to take judicial notice of the fact that allotment of natural resources is an issue of extensive debate in the country, so much so that the issue of allocation of such resources had recently resulted in a washout of two sessions of Parliament.
“The current debate on allotment of material resources has been prompted by a report submitted by the comptroller and auditor general, asserting extensive loss in revenue based on inappropriate allocations,” the court said.
The court also referred to the CAG report on coal-block allocations. The auditor, as in its earlier report on 2G allocation, had alleged that private and public sector companies made “windfall” gains as the competitive bidding process was not adopted.
“One set of citizens cannot prosper at the cost of another set of citizens,” Justice Khehar said but made it clear the process of parting with natural resources had to be decided by the government, though courts could test the “legality and constitutionality” of such methods.
If a policy is “patently unfair”, the bench said, “the court would not hesitate in striking it down”.