Outgoing Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, or Trai, Chairman J S Sarma does not feel, apparently, like cutting the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) any slack. Any errors, real or imaginary, in the DoT’s questions for Trai have been meticulously pointed out. Thus, in Trai’s formal response to the DoT’s queries, it says, with reference to a DoT view on seeking legal opinion on the issue of additional 2.25 MHz spectrum allocation: “This is apparently an internal note of DoT which has appeared in the list inadvertently. While we have no comments to make, it appears highly inappropriate to seek legal opinion on recommendation 14 which is itself that the Government should consult Ministry of Law!”
In its initial recommendation (April 23) on spectrum auction, Trai had recommended that DoT may consult the law ministry on the “appropriateness of the course of action” on certain clauses. To that, the DoT view (which Trai has dismissed as “part of the internal note”) sent to Trai was, “comments against Recommendation 13 may be referred. We may consider seeking legal opinion after receipt of clarification from Trai. Legal opinion is required on recommendations 13, 14, 15, 26 (b), 28 and 29…..” The Supreme Court’s rigorous calendar for spectrum auctions might well have spooked the DoT into errors.