NTPC to approach supreme court to protect its interest- RIL files caveat

Thursday, 13 August 2009 14:56 Harikumar B
Supreme CourtSolicitor general Gopal Subramaniam, who after a detailed study of the matter, gave a lengthy opinion suggesting filing of not only an appeal against the July 30 order of the HC before the SC, but also to consider making NTPC intervene in the pending RIL-RNRL dispute in the apex court. Within a couple of days of the government getting an opinion , Reliance Industries filed a caveat in the Supreme Court, seeking to be heard before it considers any petition by NTPC in a gas supply dispute.The caveat was filed by Parekh and Company on behalf of RIL.

Though RIL's caveat is independent of the already pending cross-appeals between Mukesh Ambani's RIL and Anil Ambani owned RNRL, the subject matter is intrinsic to the dispute, that is supply of gas at $2.34 per mmbtu. NTPC must protect its right, appears to be the terse advice who felt that RIL could not be allowed to wriggle out of a written agreement between the parties for supply of gas at the rate of $2.34 per mmbtu. Interestingly, RNRL is also seeking supply of its share of natural gas from RIL at an identical rate of $2.34 per mmbtu.

Shortly after RIL and RNRL moved the apex court, the Bombay HC had on July 30 dismissed NTPC's appeal objecting to RIL's plea for amending its stand taken in the written submissions. NTPC had filed a suit in the HC for direction to RIL to fulfil its commitment to supply gas to it at $2.34 per mmbtu, as per an LoI given after international competitive bidding. When RIL was permitted by the single judge Bench of the HC to amend its stand — the gas cannot be supplied at the agreed rate unless the government grants approval to the rate — NTPC had appealed against it before a division Bench. The latter also allowed RIL to amend its stand in NTPC's pending suit.

The opinion, which appears to have triggered immediate reaction from RIL to file a caveat in the Supreme Court, is under consideration of the government and no final decision has yet been taken as to what course of action NTPC should take.

Meanwhile, cross-appeals between RIL and RNRL, both challenging a Bombay HC order allowing the share of gas to RNRL but with a rider that prices could be renegotiated out of court, will come up for hearing before the Supreme Court on September 1.

Source - Times of India