State-owned NTPC Ltd has dragged Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to the Supreme Court saying the firm was trying to wriggle out of its commitment to supply gas to the power company.
NTPC has been fighting RIL for over three years in the Bombay High Court after the latter refused to honour a 2004 agreement to supply gas to NTPC at $2.34 (Rs 114.66) a unit.
In its Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed before the apex court on Saturday, NTPC contested the decision of the Bombay High Court that allowed RIL to amend its petition on the gas dispute.
A division bench of the Bombay High Court had allowed amendment in the petition wherein RIL cited the government’s policy on gas pricing as the reason coming in its way to supply gas to NTPC.
Under the gas pricing policy, the government has fixed the price of gas at $4.2 (Rs 205.8) a unit vis-à-vis a price of $2.34 (Rs 114.66) a unit quoted by RIL to NTPC under a global tender.
Challenging the Bombay HC’s decision to allow RIL to amend its plea, NTPC said, “Our SLP in the SC is against the decision of a Bombay High Court’s division bench that has allowed RIL to amend its plea midway in our ongoing gas dispute with it.”
“Grave prejudice and irreparable harm and injury would be caused to the petitioner (NTPC) if the respondent (RIL) is allowed to amend its written statement pending the hearing and final disposal of this SLP,” the power PSU added.
NTPC’s petition is in line with the legal advice rendered to it by the country’s top law officers including the Attorney General of India and the Solicitor General of India. Both had advised NTPC to move the SC saying the amendment by RIL seems to portray the government as the chief architect of RIL’s inability to honour the contract.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior director of NTPC said, “RIL is misleading the Bombay High Court with its new plea that the government is not allowing it to supply gas at the price it had bid — $2.34 a unit.”