SC says will consider September 1 hearing

Centre files revised plea withdrawing earlier petition

 
A bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan said it will decide on the date of final hearing on September 1 and ‘’will hear the case in shortest possible time.”

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi appearing for RNRL owned by Anil Ambani submitted that the case may be taken up urgently. ‘’All parties are here,’’ Rohtagi said, referring to the Mukesh Ambani-led RIL, the government, and gas users.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve appearing for RIL questioned the need for an early final hearing, saying: “What public interest would this serve?”

At this point Salve requested the court that there should be complete silence from all parties as some people were going to the media on the dispute.

‘’It is (the issue) raised everywhere,’’ said Rohtagi.

Additional solicitor-general Mohan Parasaran said: ‘’The government wants an early resolution of the dispute.”

In the meantime, the government filed an application seeking amendment in the petition filed by it on July 18 that had sought the court’s direction to scrap the family agreement between the billionaire Ambani brothers on the supply of gas from the Krishna Godavari basin. The Centre, withdrew from the Supreme its special leave petition on the Ambani gas dispute and filed a revised document that restricts its prayer to that part of the MoU pertaining to gas.

“The defects have been cured,” an official connected with the case said, adding that parts relating to family MoU were amended.

The Special Leave Petition filed on July 18 had sought to declare that part of the (Ambani family) MoU which deals with government rights null and void.

Sources said the SLP was withdrawn in the morning, but attempts to file a revised petition in the afternoon failed due to procedural inconsistencies. However, it was filed just before the registry was closed.

Ministry stand will erode investors’ trust

The partisan stand adopted by the petroleum ministry in the dispute over natural gas will erode investor confidence and goes against the government’s reforms direction, Anil Ambani has said.

In an interview to the Wall Street Journal, Ambani, said the oil ministry’s position also violated the sanctity of contracts.

Anil Ambani said the oil ministry was seeking a return of the erstwhile “licence permit raj.”

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