The telecoms ministry has sought "clarifications and directions" from the Supreme Court on the timing of a crucial auction of second-generation radio spectrum, the telecoms secretary said, after the apex court's order to revoke nearly half of the existing licences.

The Supreme Court ruled on February 2 that all 122 telecoms licences awarded in a scandal-tainted 2008 sale be revoked in four months and asked the government to redistribute the licences and radio airwaves through an open auction.

But the telecoms ministry thinks it would take at least 400 days from the date of the court order to complete the auction process, leading to more uncertainty for those carriers whose licences are to be cancelled by early June.

"We are not clear ... it appears that the Supreme Court has not fixed any time for the auction as such," Telecoms Secretary R. Chandrashekhar said over phone.

He said the ministry in an application to the court on Thursday conveyed its "plan of action for conducting the auction".

The government will also file a review petition with the court on Friday as it had "some issues" with the observations made by the court in last month's order, Chandrashekhar said.

"We are raising issues with regard to the observations regarding policy and policy formulation and various observations that have been made in that regard," he said, reiterating there is no plan to challenge the order to quash licences.

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