Solicitor general Mohan Parasaran has proposed legislation to empower the government to scrap agreements between a state-run body and a private company, in view of the litigation in international courts in the Antrix-Devas deal done by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Parasaran has advised that the government must get Parliament’s nod – in the “national interest” – for a law to avoid legal complications and financial losses such as the ones that arose in the Rs. 1,000-crore deal, signed without its consent. On the question of whether a new law can be applied with retrospective effect, Parasaran said: “It is for the cabinet and Parliament to take a final call. In my view, where the national interest is involved, there is no problem in doing so.”
The PMO has asked the Planning Commission to draft a law to address issues related to disputes in public-private partnerships. In the initial draft, the Commission has suggested setting up an independent tribunal to settle disputes.
Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd had refused to accept the government’s decision to scrap the deal between it and Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO, in February 2011, and went in for arbitration at International Court of Arbitration, Paris. The government had stepped in to terminate the agreement after the Comptroller and Auditor General had raised questions.