The Centre on Tuesday filed a fresh application in the Supreme Court in the ‘Reliance gas dispute case’ asserting that the Gas Utilisation Policy (GUP) and Production Sharing Contract (PSC) would have supremacy and could not be controlled by a private arrangement entered into between the companies of two Ambani brothers.
A three-Judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, had posted the matter for final hearing on October 20 and in the meanwhile asked the parties concerned to complete the pleadings.
In the present application, the Centre sought permission to amend its special leave petition (SLP) and prayed for setting aside only that portion of the order relating to the interpretation of its gas utilisation policy and provisions of the production sharing contract. It further sought a direction that the GUP and the PSC would have supremacy and could not be controlled by a private arrangement.
The application submitted that the government “decided to regulate natural resource gas by evolving norms with regard to utilisation, allocation and pricing prioritisation of sectors so as to provide that the contractor sells gas as per the order of priority taken in the decision of the Empowered Group of Ministers”. It said that the impugned High Court order had not properly appreciated the provisions of PSC and had stepped into the shoes of the government by recognising the private arrangement in the matter of allocation of gas.
The Centre clarified that it was in no way concerned with the private dispute between the RIL and RNRL or between the Ambani brothers, but was only concerned with its rights as owner and regulator of natural gas. Its prayer in the special leave petition against the Bombay High Court’s interim order was not for declaring any private family agreement null and void. The Centre made it clear that the approval of the sale price of gas at $4.2 mbtu in respect of the D-6 block was without prejudice to the rights of the NTPC in the pending case in the Bombay High Court. It said that the rights and obligations between RIL and NTPC could not be regarded as similar in status to the private arrangement between RIL and RNRL because of NTPC’s status as a public utility.