J. Venkatesan

Seeks a direction to restrain RIL to amend its written statement

NEW DELHI: NTPC on Saturday moved the Supreme Court against an order of the Bombay High Court permitting Mukesh Ambani group company Reliance Industries (RIL) to amend its written statement before the High Court in the gas dispute suit.

According to NTPC, as RIL after having arrived at an agreement to supply 132 Tbtu (12 million standard cubic metres a day — mscmd) gas at the price of $2.34 per mBtu pursuant to the global competitive bidding sought to wriggle out and avoid the General Sales and Purchase Agreement on one pretext or the other, NTPC filed a suit against RIL in the Bombay High court for enforcement of the concluded GSPA.

RIL after filing its written statement and issues having been framed in the suit filed an application for amendments in the statements and this was allowed by a single judge and later confirmed by a Division Bench of the High Court.

The present special leave petition is directed against that order.

The SLP said that the amendment “in effect seeks to portray the Central Government as the chief architect of the inability of RIL in being able to perform GSPA and it having impliedly taken away the foundational basis of a very carefully structured bid and suggests on this basis that the GSPA is one which is incapable of performance.”

It contended that such a stand would amount to a new case and the order of the Division Bench would enable RIL to set up an entirely new case even though the PSC (production sharing contract) was executed on February 14, 2000.

The SLP pointed out that the amendments were merely an afterthought and with a view to delaying the trial of the suit and, therefore constituted a gross abuse of the process of the court.

“The High Court has clearly misdirected itself in fact and in law, thus arriving at conclusions, which are entirely unwarranted and unjustified”, the SLP said and sought a direction to restrain RIL to amend its written statement.