How will price hike in RNRL gas supply serve public interest: SC to RIL

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 31 2009, 05:23am hrs
Supreme Court on Thursday asked Mukesh Ambani Group firm RIL that how would its demand to raise gas supply price to Anil Ambanis RNRL will serve the public interest.

Was it not in the public interest that all should be supplied gas at the rate of $2.34 per mmBtu (Metric Million British Thermal Unit). If Government says that the price of gas for all will be at $2.34 per mmBtu, will it not be in a public interest the court asked RIL.

For making it from $2.34 to $4.20 per mmBtu you (RIL) are only the benificiary and not the public. RIL is gaining and not the public. Is it in the public interest, a Bench comprising chief justice KG Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and P Sathasivam observed when RIL made submissions on the marketing rights of the gas from KG Basin.

The remarks of the Bench came on the sixth day of the hearing the dispute between RIL and RNRL relating to supply of gas from KG basin for which the two brothers Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani are engaged in a bitter fight.

RNRL is seeking gas from his brothers group RIL at rates 44% lower than the government-approved price. RIL says it cannot honour the commitment made in the 2005 family agreement due to the governments pricing and gas policies.

While senior advocate Harish Salve was advancing the arguments on marketing rights of the gas for RIL, the Bench said if the gas is supplied at a lower price, the country is going to be benefitted.

This is not an issue between the two brothers. The issue is how the government could regulate the price of gas arbitrarily and with this whose interest is being protected, the Bench asked.

Salve said a committee was set up to address the public interest relating to fixation of gas supply price. The senior advocate focussed his arguments to buttress the stand that the gas supply at the rate of $2.34 per mmBtu would not be in interest of the RIL.