NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today agreed to examine a plea seeking framing of guidelines for grant of security clearance by the Centre to firms, accused of economic offences, from taking part in public auctions.
"Issue notice," a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud said while issuing notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs on the plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
The Rajya Sabha MP submitted that the Delhi High Court and the Bombay High Court have recently taken divergent views on the issue of security clearance by MHA while dealing with e-auction process of private FM radio channels.
The Bombay HC held that the grant of security clearance falls under the exclusive domain of MHA, he said, adding the Delhi High Court allowed Sun Group, controlled by Kalanidhi Maran and former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, who are accused in the Aircel-Maxis scam case, to bid for the airwaves auction.
Dealing with the nod to Sun Group to take part in the auction process of FM radio channels, Swamy said MHA refused security clearance and the Attorney General overturned its objection and gave opinion in favour of the group whose promoters are facing prosecution in the Aircel-Maxis scam.
"Do you mean to say the grant of licence to a firm, facing prosecution for financial offences, would threaten national security. We feel security clearences are misnomer," the bench observed. It, however, later issued notice on the plea.
Swamy also said that till the time the apex court frames guidelines, the process of grant of licence to the firms, charged with economic offences, be stayed.
The plea said, "The matters related to the national security of the country are specifically been delegated by the President of India to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and not to any other department or body of the Union.
"That means any decision by the Home Ministry on the subject of the national security cannot be questioned by any other ministry or persons. The matter of national security being a specialised job, is therefore an exclusive domain of MHA," it said. Swamy said that he was "alarmed that some of the 2G accused were being permitted on a doubtful and contrived security clearance to participate in the e-auction process of private FM radio channels (phase III) and airwaves held by the central government."
"The control of the radio and airwaves as well as electronic media by the central government is an extremely important aspect of national security and this court has time and again emphasised that the national security cannot be compromised," the plea said.
Seeking guidelines from the court, the plea said that inadequate security clearance policy of the government and the two judgements of the Delhi and the Bombay high courts can be used as a ground to bypass the "mandatory security clearance process by the companies" and this could become a threat to national security.
It alleged that "inadequacy" and "non-uniformity" in security clearance policy of the government has created this problem where a "tainted person or a company" can be part of a
process which can have serious impact on the national security.