The Supreme Court of India on Monday extended the deadline for the auction of 2G spectrum from August 31 to November 12, and also permitted operators, whose permits had become void, to operate until January 18 next year.
The Union government had requested the apex court to extend the deadline for the auction of the spectrum, saying it needed more time to complete the sale process.
The Supreme Court granted the extension, but also attached some conditions to it. The court said the government would provide an undertaking regarding completion of the process, and stressed that no further extensions would be granted.
The court also warned that in case the government failed, it would issue contempt proceedings against erring officials plus an exemplary fine on the Centre.
In the ruling, a division bench of justices GS Singhvi and KS Radhakrishnan said, "Exemplary costs may be imposed in the event of failure to complete auction process within the deadline."
Government counsel PP Rao assured the process of auction would move as per directions of the court.
In the process, telecommunication companies, which were to wind up operations by September 7 this year, were permitted to carry on business till January 18 next year.
On February 2, the Supreme Court had annulled 122 telecom licenses in connection with the notorious 2G scam. But, these telecom companies were given an opportunity to get back their lost spectrum via participation in a new 2G auction on June 2. However, the deadline was later extended to August 31, and the companies, whose licenses were annulled, were allowed to operate till September 7. As the deadline was extended further, these companies were also permitted to continue business till January 18, 2013.