A three-member Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, will on Friday deliver the keenly awaited judgement in the dispute
between Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL). At stake is the supply, for 17 years, of natural gas produced by RIL’s block in the Krishna-Godavari basin. The dispute began after the 2005 division of assets of RIL between the two brothers following the death of their father Dhirubhai Ambani. It turned into a legal challenge in November 2006 in the Bombay high court, which ruled in June 2009 that RIL should honour the family agreement struck in 2005 to supply 28 million standard cu. m per day (mscmd) of gas at $2.34 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu) for 17 years to RNRL. The battle then moved to the Supreme Court where RNRL sought the court’s intervention for the immediate supply of gas; RIL in its affidavit opposed this, stating that the price sought by RNRL is 44% lower than that mandated by the government and that it could not supply gas at a price not approved by the government and to a user not listed in the country’s gas utilization policy. The judgement will hopefully resolve the biggest corporate battle fought in the country. The verdict will also affect the fortunes of state-run NTPC Ltd, which is fighting a separate case with RIL in the Bombay high court over the existence and terms of a contract between the two firms.
Also See The Reliance Row (Graphic)