The Attorney General of India, G E Vahanvati, has communicated to the Cabinet secretary that he wanted to know what decision the government has taken on the implementation of the Ashok Chawla Committee report on pricing and allocation of natural resources, which had among others recommended auction for allocation of natural resources.
AG has said the position of the government on the report would be needed for preparing a note which has to be submitted to the Supreme Court in the presidential reference.
The government had raised certain issues which arose after the Supreme Court direction to cancel 122 second generation (2G) licences. In its presidential reference, the government raised the issue as to whether the judgment means that the process of auction should be now followed for all natural resource allocation. It also raises the question as whether this is a case where the judiciary is interfering with the functions of the executive as allocation of natural resources is a policy matter beyond the purview of judicial review.
In its communication to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, AG has raised three key issues. One was whether the recommendations of the Chawla Committee report had been accepted by the government. Two, the committee has recommended auction as the only mechanism for allocation of natural resources. Three, it has queried whether the implementation of the recommendations of the committee would require legislative amendments or not.
The issue came into the fore when Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy said to the SC that the government had accepted 69 of the 81 recommendations of the Chawla Committee report.