Idea acquired six overlapping licenses of Spice in 2008 and Idea's merger with Spice Communication was sanctioned on Feb 5, 2010. While four out of six overlapping licences were non-operative, two licences of Punjab and Karnataka were operative.
Justice Manmohan said, “It is directed that notwithstanding anything stated in the sanctioned scheme and in the order dated 5 February 2010, the six overlapping licences of the Spice would not stand transferred or vested with Idea till prior permission of DoT is obtained".
As per the court order, both the operative licences have to be surrender to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) now.
According to HC, Idea had not provided the rejection letters issued by DoT on the licence mergers when it applied to the high court for permission to absorb them in 2008.
HC said, “Cost should be imposed on Idea for not bringing to the notice of this court the rejection letter dated January 7, 2010 and January 18, 2010 issued by the DoT and for not placing on record relevant and material documents like licences, merger guidelines and correspondence exchanged between the parties."
Idea was also directed to pay the fine of Rs 1 crore to the department within six weeks.
The court directed DoT to ensure that the customers of two circles—Punjab and Karnataka—where the licences of Spice were operational, shall not suffer due to interruption of service.