Mumbai: Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) has said that it has moved Supreme Court against a 15 June Bombay high court order on its three-year-old lawsuit against Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) over the price of natural gas.
“We have filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court,” RNRL counsel Mukul Rohatgi said on Friday. “After ruling categorically in our favour, the (high) court cannot ask us to negotiate with a party that is not willing to sit across the table, not now or in the past.”
Responding to RNRL’s move, RIL spokesperson Tushar Pania said his company has filed a caveat in the apex court to ensure it is given a chance to explain itself.
Row escalates: RIL’s Krishna-Godavari basin oilfield. RNRL has filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the 15 June verdict.
RNRL has been claiming rights to 28 million standard cubic metres of gas a day for 17 years at $2.34 per million British thermal unit—44% lower than the price set by the government—from RIL’s gas fields in the Krishna-Godavari basin off the country’s east coast.
Ruling against RIL, the high court had asked the firms to reach an agreement within a month in accordance with a family pact that formed the basis of the division of the Reliance group in 2005.
The apex court is likely to hear on the matter next week, Rohatgi said.
RIL’s shares fell 0.78% to Rs2,025.85 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Friday, on a day its bellwether Sensex index rose 1.74% to 14,913.05 points.
RNRL gained 6.84% to close at Rs86.65 a share.
A statement by Mukesh Ambani-controlled RIL had said on Wednesday that it was filing appropriate proceedings in the country’s top court after RNRL, owned by estranged brother Anil Ambani, accused it of deliberately and wantonly defying and avoiding compliance of the high court’s ruling.
RNRL wanted the gas immediately, Rohatgi said, but declined to specify its use. The firm’s Dadri project in Uttar Pradesh, for which it wants the gas, is yet to be set up. RNRL is not allowed to trade in gas.
The government’s role, and whether it becomes a party to the lawsuit, will be critical as it owns all natural resources and has set a price and utilization list, naming priority buyers.
RNRL said in a statement that the high court order “fully protects the right, entitlement and economic interest of the government. The case is a commercial matter” between the two companies.
Following the high court verdict, both companies have stuck to their original positions.
The RNRL counsel blamed RIL’s “obstructionist attitude”, its disinclination to give any gas to RNRL and thwarting any possible negotiation.