"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well." -Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Friday, May 7, 2010

RIL-RNRL Dispute

I am sure most of us are aware of the RIL-RNRL natural gas dispute. The matter was pending before the Supreme Court for a long time. Judgement in the case was reserved in mid-December. The SC has delivered judgement this morning. News reports suggest that the case has been decided in favour of RIL by a 2:1 majority. Business Standard reports the following as the summary of the judgement:


"RIL does not have absolute marketing right over gas; price subject to government approval: SC.
Family MoU not legally binding, says SC in RIL-RNRL case.
Terms of production sharing contract will have over-riding effect: SC.

RIL directed to initiate in six weeks, re-negotiation with RNRL in terms of Gas Sale Master Agreement so that right of RNRL is safeguarded.

Judgement in RIL-RNRL gas dispute case majority verdict delivered by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan; Justice P Sathasivam reads out verdict.
Gas is government asset till it reaches consumer: SC.

Supreme Court holds petition filed by RNRL before company court as maintainable, as court had sanctioned the original demerger scheme.

Ambani family MoU technically not binding, as it's between two brothers - Anil and Mukesh and mother Kokilaben, and three million shareholders of RIL-RNRL did not know its contents.

Ambani family MoU can be a means of arriving at suitable arrangement but cannot be the sole means for a suitable arrangement, says Justice Sathasivam.

Since MoU not made public, it doesn't fall in corporate domain: SC in RIL-RNRL gas dispute case.
Supreme Court rules in favour of RIL by 2-1. Chief Justice backs Sathasivam's verdict.
Production Sharing Contract meant for regulating supply of gas and under PSC it's for government to evaluate price of fuel.
On Govt role, SC says since gas is national asset public interest has to be looked into first.
Suitable arrangement must not be suitable only for RIL, but also for shareholders of RNRL and it's RIL's obligation to look after it."

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