The Supreme Court will hold March 4 hearing in the plea by Communist lawmaker Gurudas Dasgupta and NGO Common Cause seeking review of the government decision to hike the natural gas price from $4.2 to $8.4 million British thermal unit (mmBtu) from April 2014 .
Common Cause has sought a court monitored probe by a special investigation team or the Central Bureau of Investigation into increasing gas prices, giving retrospective tax benefits and not insisting on the relinquishment of gas blocks ion KG basin by the Reliance Industries.
Dasgupta has also sought as a halt to the arbitration proceedings to decide the issue.
While saying that the matter would be taken up for hearing on March 4, a bench of Chief Justice P.Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the contending parties to complete the filing of rejoinders within two weeks.
At the outset of the hearing, Common Cause’s counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court that “this is an extremely urgent matter. If the decision to raise prices is implemented then it would cause a huge outflow of lakhs of crores of rupees”.
Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Dasgupta, too pressed for an early hearing.
Dasgupta has contended that government and Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily were working out a “strategy to use arbitration proceedings as a subterfuge and a pretence to take the contentious and public interest issues away from the scrutiny” of the apex court.
Common Cause has sought the quashing of the decision to increase the gas prices effective from April 2014 and the cancellation of the Production Sharing Contract.
Common Cause and other eminent people has also sought probe “into the high level collusion between RIL and the political establishment and the corruption involved, including on the aspects of not taking any action against RILfor hoarding the gas,…”