SC to hear gas row on priority

Case to be heard on a day-to-day basis

Mukesh Ambani (left) and Anil Ambani

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishan will be hearing the arguments from Reliance Industries, Reliance Natural, government and other petitioners.
Advocate Sameer Parekh of RIL said the Apex Court has accorded priority to the case and it might take about 3 weeks for completion of the arguments. There will be only three days in a weeks fixed for arguments of this case.

‘’Because of its importance, the court is going to hear on day-to-day basis,’’ he said. The Apex court has about 53,000 cases pending before it and it is hearing 1998-99 cases at present.

Parekh said it is not unusual, as the court can hear a case without admitting it. About 70 percent of the cases are heard without admission and it depends on the court’s decision, he said. RNRL Advocate Mahesh Agrawal said the court would be hearing the maintainability of the petition of the government which had also challenged the Bombay High Court decision even though it was not a party to the litigation.

Power producers

The court will also decide the impleadment applications of the power producers and fertilizer companies which want to be party to the case.

However, Parekh said these are minor issues and the court would start hearing the main issue between the Mukesh Ambani’s RIL and Anil Ambani’s RNRL, but it is up to the Judges to decide. Agrawal said it may take about a month to complete the arguments. So the arguments may take 9 to 12 days to complete.

Advocate Harish Salve for RIL, Ram Jethmalani, Mukul Rohtagi for RNRL and Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran will lead the government team. In the meantime, the Centre has decided to expand its team of lawyers by assigning more senior advocates to concentrate to the case.

RNRL is fighting a court battle against RIL seeking direction for supply of gas at $2.34 per mmBtu citing a family agreement.

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