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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

No early hearing on Walmart lobbying issue: SC

PTI  New Delhi, December 11, 2012
First Published: 19:28 IST(11/12/2012) | Last Updated: 19:29 IST(11/12/2012)

The Walmart lobbying issue was on Tuesday raised in the Supreme Court which said it cannot give an early hearing to a plea seeking direction to the Government for placing before it copies of reports filed in the US Senate by the retail giant which lobbied with lawmakers in that country to gain entry into India.

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"This is not a matter which should be given priority now. We won't pass any orders. You may make an application," a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said.

The observations were made by the bench when an advocate mentioned the matter and sought a direction for early hearing.

Advocate ML Sharma, who has also filed a petition against the FDI in retail sector, referred to media reports from Washington about the amount spent by Walmart since 2008 on lobbying in the US to get access to the the highly lucrative Indian market.

As per the lobbying disclosure reports filed by Walmart with the US Senate, the company has spent close to $25 million (about Rs. 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India".

The advocate submitted that lobbying was not permissible in India and the court should examine documents placed with the US senate.

The apex court had on November 5 had made it clear that it will not interfere with the policy on FDI in retail saying that if it does not stand in Parliament then it would be at government's peril.

The matter has been listed for hearing on January 22.


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