The Supreme Court judgment in the 2G licence case should not be seen as anti-FDI or anti-trade, as some experts would have us believe. In fact, the landmark ruling of Justice Ganguly provides us with the much needed legal framework to overcome the demon of corruption in Indian business.
In the last week or so, the Supreme Court has given two landmark judgments -- the first one in which it empowered an ordinary citizen to take a corrupt government official to court and strengthened the Central Vigilance Commission; and the second in which it quashed the government's ridiculous case against mobile operator Vodafone for tax evasion. The third landmark judgment yesterday should be welcomed because it will give confidence to multinationals to invest in India without having to circumvent the complex web of bureaucracy and licences by paying bribes.
A case could be made that the SC judgment means that the judiciary has intervened in what is essentially a policy matter and thus a task of the executive. This is a fundamentally flawed argument. The judiciary intervened in a case that was exposed by a section of the media and then doggedly pursued by common individuals without having to resort to the drama of agitation and holding a country to ransom. This case is a classic example of how a common citizen can take on the high and mighty using perfectly constitutional methods.
It is, in a sense, a victory for democracy. The 2G judgment may have resulted in the cancellation of 122 licences, but the experience of the flawed 2G licence auctioning process strengthened the process for future auctions of Spectrum. It also means that the consumer is protected because he is not exposed to unscrupulous cellular operators who are in the business only to make a fast buck by riding the telecom wave. This should be welcomed by all.