Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

RIL gas-pricing case: SC asks if decision possible when PILs pending

Two PILs related to the dispute between Reliance Industries and the centre are pending

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the centre and Reliance Industries Ltd to clarify whether it should pass an order on a case when two public interest litigations (PILs) filed on similar grounds related to it were pending.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that while an order had been reserved in the gas-pricing dispute and on whether an arbitrator would decide on the issue, he needed to hear arguments from both sides over whether the two PILs restricted him from doing so.

Justice Gogoi had, on 17 August reserved verdict in relation to appointment of an arbitrator in the gas-pricing dispute between the central government and Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries.

Gogoi said that the January and October 2014 pricing guidelines, along with the production-sharing agreement which contains the arbitration clause, had been challenged in PILs before a three-judge bench of the apex court.

“The question that we ask is are we going to start an exercise which may be stillborn at some point," he asked them.

The court will hear the case next on 21 September.

In the gas-pricing dispute, Reliance Industries sought appointment of a neutral arbitrator belonging to another country to be appointed as the presiding arbitrator. However, the government said that gas pricing is a matter of policy and could not be decided by an arbitrator.

The production-sharing contracts between Reliance Industries and the government were signed in 1994 for extraction of gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin.

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