Power PSU NTPC on Saturday moved the Supreme Court challenging Bombay High Court's decision that allowed Mukesh Ambani group firm RIL to amend its petition on the gas dispute citing government's pricing policy.
A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court had allowed amendment in the petition wherein RIL had prayed that the government's policy on pricing of gas would frustrate its contract with NTPC.
The Special Leave Petition (SLP) by NTPC comes within days of the government moving the apex court stating that its pricing policy was without prejudice to the power PSU case against RIL.
NTPC had earlier taken opinion from top two law officers, wherein both the Attorney General and Solicitor General had advised the power PSU to move the Supreme Court saying the amendment by RIL seems to portray the government as the chief architect of the inability of RIL in being able to perform the contract.
The power PSU had earlier moved the Bombay High Court seeking 12 mmscmd gas from RIL which had emerged winner in an international competitive bid quoting a price of USD 2.34 per mmBtu.
The High Court failed to appreciate that the amendment substantially cited the Central government and its decision to be the chief cause of inability to perform the General Sales & Purchase Agreement," NTPC said, pointing that this (amendment) was a new case and ought not to have been permitted.
It said that (RIL's) amendment was based on an affidavit filed by the government in Bombay High Court in February, but without regard to the empowered Group of Ministers' contention that "... the decision taken in the eGoM meeting will be without prejudice to the NTPC Vs RIL and RNRL Vs RIL case which are separately subjudice..."
It may be recalled that RNRL is also fighting a case against RIL to get gas at USD 2.34 per mmBtu, a price substantially lower than the USD 4.2 per mmBtu approved by the eGoM and both the parties have moved Supreme Court challenging two separate decisions of the Bombay High Court.
Even the government has moved a petition on the RIL-RNRL issue and the apex court has decided to commence hearing on the matter on October 20. The government, which filed its petition on July 18, had subsequently sought amendment saying its price approval was without prejudice to the NTPC-RIL case.
The government's interlocutory application earlier this week had also mentioned that the Ministry of Law had clarified during the eGoM meeting in August 2007 that "the two cases between RIL Vs NTPC and RIL Vs RNRL were separate contracts between the supplier and different companies.
"We have to keep these cases beyond the scope of our deliberations and take a decision in general on NELP pricing issue."