SC de­clines govt re­quest on RIL fine

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Business -

New Delhi: In a set­back to the oil min­istry, the Supreme Court has dis­missed its pe­ti­tion against an or­der seek­ing dis­clo­sure of doc­u­ments that formed ba­sis for levy of $3-bil­lion penalty on Re­liance In­dus­tries over KG-D6 nat­u­ral gas out­put not match­ing tar­gets.

A three-mem­ber in­ter­na­tional ar­bi­tra­tion panel, hear­ing Re­liance and its part­ner’s chal­lenge to the govern­ment levy­ing penalty be­cause of unutilised ca­pac­ity due to pro­duc­tion not match­ing tar­gets, had asked the min­istry to share a slew of doc­u­ments that formed ba­sis for its ac­tions. The oil min­istry first chal­lenged the dis­clo­sure be­fore the Delhi high court, which on De­cem­ber 18, 2018, dis­missed the pe­ti­tion. It then chal­lenged it in the Supreme Court, which on Au­gust 5, 2019, dis­missed it say­ing it was “not in­clined to in­ter­fere” with the ear­lier or­der.

The cen­tre had in 2012-2016 dis­al­lowed RIL and part­ners from re­cov­er­ing the $3.02-bil­lion cost for KG-D6 out­put lag­ging tar­gets. The penalty in form of dis­al­lowance of re­cov­ery of some costs was levied be­cause the oil min­istry and its tech­ni­cal arm DGH felt that the out­put lagged tar­gets as the com­pany did not drill the com­mit­ted num­ber of wells on the fields and cre­ated ex­cess ca­pac­ity.

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