The Centre today told the Delhi High Court that export of country’s domestic crude oil cannot be allowed as it would be detrimental to the national interest considering the fact that nearly 85 per cent of required crude was imported.
The government contended this before Justice Manmohan while opposing UK-based Vedanta group company Cairn India’s plea for permission to export excess crude from its Barmer oil field in Rajasthan.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said it was a part of the government policy not to permit export of crude.
“All the natural resources are not only vested in the Government of India but it has to be used for the government of India,” he said, adding, “they (Cairn India) can earn profit by selling crude within the country.”
To this, the counsel appearing for Cairn India said they are ready to sell crude within India provided they get the benchmark price.
During the hearing, the court asked the ASG, “There has to be some benefit to the government at the end of the day.”
“You (ASG) will have to show me that either government is benefited or there is public interest. You are not showing me this. You will have to show it to the court,” it said.
Responding to the court’s query, the ASG said that most of the Indian refineries were dependent on imported crude.
“They (Cairn India) can sell the crude in domestic market.
They have not shown anything that except Reliance and Essar, no one is buying their crude,” he said.
“We have nothing to do with Reliance or Essar. Our only contention is that no export of crude is permitted till we attain self sufficiency domestically,” the ASG said.
Countering the submissions, Cairn India’s counsel said they were getting the rates domestically which were less than that of international market.
“They (Centre) are not allowing us to export. PSUs are not buying it. We have to give it to private players on a lesser rate,” the counsel said.
The court has now fixed the matter for hearing on July 8.
( Source – PTI )