SC to review HPCL, BPCL disinvestment order | business | Hindustan Times
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SC to review HPCL, BPCL disinvestment order

The Supreme Court also stayed proceedings before all High Courts concerning disinvestment.

business Updated: Nov 18, 2003 10:09 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to re-examine its judgement which said the Government could not divest its stake in PSUs created or acquired through legislation without Parliament's approval. The verdict was delivered last September in connection with the disinvestment of oil majors HPCL and BPCL.

A bench comprising Chief Justice VN Khare and Justice SB Sinha decided to re-examine the earlier verdict while hearing a petition challenging the sale of the government’s holding in Jessop, an EMU coach-manufacturing unit in West Bengal.

The Centre filed an affidavit saying the SC judgement stalling the disinvestment in HPCL and BPCL needed to be reconsidered because it had misinterpreted the powers conferred on the executive by the Constitution.

It said the Constitution had extended to the executive the power to carry on any business and to acquire or dispose of property. The Centre also said several petitions had challenged the government's privatisation of other PSUs in high courts on the strength of the SC judgement.

The bench gave four weeks to the Jessop officers' association, which had challenged the disinvestment, to file a rejoinder in response to the Centre's affidavit.

The SC also stayed high court proceedings challenging the privatisation of the Shipping Corporation, Hindustan Copper and Burn Standard in response to the Centre's plea urging the apex court to take over these petitions.

Privatisation pitfalls

Legal hurdles: After SC stalled HPCL/BPCL disinvestment, HC proceedings have slowed sell-offs

No consensus: Elements in NDA and Sangh Parivar oppose PSU sales

Unfriendly fire: Opposition fights privatisation in strategic sectors. Labour violence has also played a role in derailing divestment