Even as Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is keen on having a foreign arbitrator, the government is understood to have nominated three former Chief Justices of India (CJIs) for the appointment of a presiding arbitrator in its ongoing tussle with RIL over the shortfall in production of gas from the KG-D6 fields on the eastern offshore.
According to sources, the names proposed by the Centre include former CJIs — Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal, Altamas Kabir and AM Ahmadi.
RIL refused to comment on the issue and maintained that a foreign arbitrator could prove a better neutral presiding judge. RIL feels that an arbitrator from a foreign country would be neutral because he will not be connected with any of the parties in dispute.
The Supreme Court had asked RIL and the Centre to propose names of persons — both Indian and foreign nationals — who could be considered for the appointment of a presiding arbitrator. The parties were asked to submit the names by January 13.
“The Centre has proposed names of three former CJIs, all Indian nationals,” an official said.
RIL had begun arbitration against the government on November 23, 2011 and had nominated former CJI SP Bharucha as its arbitrator, while the Centre chose ex-CJI VN Khare as its nominee. Whether the third (the presiding) arbitrator will be an Indian or a foreign national will be finally decided by the apex court.