The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity on Monday dismissed the plea of Reliance Fuel Resources Ltd. (RFRL) of the Anil Ambani group challenging an order of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board rejecting applications for grant of authorisation for the CGD (city gas distribution) network pipelines for four areas.

In its order, the Tribunal, comprising its Chairperson Justice M. Karpaga Vinayagam and Technical Member M. B. Lal, upheld the Board’s order dated October 30, 2008, rejecting the applications.

Pipeline policy

On December 20, 2006 the Central Government promulgated the pipeline policy providing for authorisation of entities by the Petroleum Board to lay, build, operate and expand gas pipelines. In pursuance of the said policy, the appellant submitted four applications for grant of authorisation for four areas and the Board declined to entertain the applications.

Uninvited application

Justifying the order, the Board said that the applications submitted by the appellant when the rules were not framed were contrary to the well-established law that the framing of Regulations was a condition precedent to perform its statutory functions.

It said “no authorisation can be granted on the strength of uninvited applications to any entity contrary to the provisions of the Act and Regulations.

“The Board has passed the impugned order on the basis of the recommendations made by the Committee to which the case was referred by the Chairman of the Board”.

The Tribunal in its order said “a reading of the mandatory instructions given in the Pipeline Policy would clearly indicate that the applications for authorisation cannot be considered by the Board without the Regulations being framed under the powers conferred to the Board. In other words, only after the framing of the Regulations, the Board is empowered to entertain the said applications and to make scrutiny as to whether their applications were filed in accordance with the said Regulations”.

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