SC no­tices on gas price hike

The Political and Business Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

NEW DELHI: The Govern­ment's con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion to raise the price of nat­u­ral gas came un­der ju­di­cial scru­tiny with the Supreme Court on Mon­day agree­ing to ex­am­ine the mat­ter and is­sued no­tices to the Cen­tre and Re­liance In­dus­tries Ltd (RIL).

GOVERN­MENT'S con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion to raise the price of nat­u­ral gas reached the Supreme Court which to­day agreed to ex­am­ine the mat­ter.

Tak­ing up a PIL filed by CPI MP Gu­ru­das Das­gupta, the court is­sued no­tices to the Cen­tre, Re­liance In­dus­tries Ltd (RIL) and the Pe­tro­leum Min­is­ter Veerappa Moi­ley.

The bench headed by Chief Jus­tice P Satha­si­vam said that the is­sue raised by the se­nior MP needs ex­am­i­na­tion and the pe­ti­tion can­not be re­jected at the ini­tial stage.

The apex court also sought re­sponse from BP Ex­plo­ration (Alpha) Limited, NIKO Re­sources Ltd and Min­istry for Pe­tro­leum & Nat­u­ral Gas on a PIL filed by CPI MP Gu­ru­das Das­gupta who al­leged that no due dili­gence was done by the govern­ment while in­creas­ing the price of nat­u­ral gas.

The court di­rected the par­ties to file their re­sponse within four weeks and posted the mat­ter for fur­ther hear­ing to Septem­ber 6.

The MP pleaded for a slew of di­rec­tions in­clud­ing re­view of Cen­tre's de­ci­sion to in­crease the price of nat­u­ral gas from USD 4.2 per mil­lion Bri­tish ther­mal unit (mbtu) to USD 8.4 mbtu from April 1, 2014.

Se­nior ad­vo­cate Colin Gonsalves, ap­pear­ing for Das­gupta, sub­mit­ted that the de­ci­sion to raise the price needs to be ex­am­ined as the Pe­tro­leum Min­is­ter has over­ruled the opin­ion of se­nior of­fi­cers of the min­istry and his pre­de­ces­sor.

He also sought di­rec­tion to RIL and NIKO to re­lin­quish those ar­eas of the KG basin forth­with as are rec­om­mended by CAG in its re­port and Cen­tre to take pos­ses­sion of the area.

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