SC rescinds order naming Oz judge in KG basin row

SC rescinds order naming  Oz judge in KG basin row

The Supreme Court on Wednesday withdrew its two-day-old order appointing James Spigelman, former chief justice of New South Wales Supreme Court, Australia, as the third arbitrator to resolve a dispute between the Centre and Reliance Industries Limited on the KG basin.

Justice S S Nijjar, who had appointed Spigelman on Monday, decided to recall the order after senior advocate Dushyant Dave, on behalf of the Centre, contended that Spigelman’s name was mentioned in the list of seven names proposed by the Reliance group for appointment as an independent arbitrator. Senior advocate Harish Salve did not oppose the plea made by the government.

The government, on its part, had also suggested its own names after two former CJIs recommended by the Centre and RIL did not agree on a third name.

The apex court on March 31 named Spigelman, who has also served as the Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales, as the third arbitrator who shall act as the chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal whose two other members are former chief justices of India S P Bharucha and V N Khare.

Mukesh Ambani-led RIL has nominated justice Bharucha as its arbitrator. The Centre chose justice Khare as its nominee.

Justice Nijjar had said that both the Centre and the RIL provided the list of eminent foreign arbitrators but he preferred to do his own survey for maintaining neutrality and chose the name of Justice Spigelman.

“Although the two lists have been duly supplied by the learned counsel for the parties, I am of the opinion, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, it would be appropriate if an individual not named by any of the parties is appointed the third arbitrator. I have discretely conducted a survey to find a suitable third arbitrator who is not a national of any of the parties involved in the dispute,” he had said.

RIL had initiated the arbitration proceeding in November 2011 against the government’s move to disallow or restrict cost recovery of the expenditures.

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