Attorney General G E Vahanvati, in his continuing arguments on the Presidential reference on the 2G judgment, told the apex court on Tuesday that the government could not restrict itself to the route of auction in allocating natural resources which would depend upon the objectives for which they were alienated.
Making his submissions before a five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia, Justice D K Jain, Justice J S Kehar, Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Vahanvati said in deciding which method of allocation was appropriate in a given case, one had to ask why the property or entitlement in question was being disposed of in the first place.
“The method of allocation would depend on the government’s objectives which would in turn depend on the reason for disposing of the asset in question,” the AG said. “Thus it is entirely permissible for the government to choose different methods of allocation for different resources,” he argued.
Referring to the public trust doctrine, he said it applied in the 2G verdict also.
The extension of the 2G verdict to some other judgments had led to considerable confusion and needed to be clarified by this court, he stated.
The AG pointed out that in several judgments of the apex court, it had been held that it was not necessary that in all cases of transfer or alienation of resources, the State was duty-bound to adopt the method of auction. “It is not possible to discard these judgments on the basis that they were given earlier or that the situation has changed. Equally, it is not possible to simply assert that these principles are no longer relevant in view of changed circumstances,” the Attorney General added.