CJI Gogoi to meet UP chief secretary and DGP to review law and order situation in UP.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is likely to have a meeting with Uttar Pradesh chief secretary and director general of police on Friday to assess the law and order arrangement in the state ahead of the verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute case to be pronounced next week, sources said.

The CJI has called UP Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and DGP Om Prakash Singh and will have the meeting in his chamber, they said.

The judgement on the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute was reserved on October 16 after a marathon hearing of 40 days. The judgement is likely to be pronounced before November 17 as Justice Gogoi’s tenure as the CJI comes to end on that day.

Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJI

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Saturday said there is a need to look at the role and functioning of lawyers and understand why a law graduate’s natural choice is not the legal profession in spite of great attractions and opportunities.

The CJI said lawyers act as advocates and advisors of litigants and help them secure their rights under the law. While working for their clients, they interpret and mould the law and help the judges in laying down the legal propositions that have binding effects on the future generations.

Justice Gogoi, who was speaking at the seventh annual convocation of National Law University here, added that the purpose of law schools is to bring out lawyers who would serve the country as prospective leaders of the bar, adjudicators on the bench and educators and teachers.

He said it is time now for introspection and analyse as to whether the five-year law course, a combined degree in law and arts, has met its ambitions.

He said the five-year law school model has not entirely failed in achieving the purpose, but it has also not brought about the expected transformation.

“National law schools have sought to foster intensive five-year course, combined degree in law and arts. This initiative was on a strong commitment to improve existing legal infrastructure. Indeed with this ambition, five-year law schools have spearheaded critical changes in syllabi and structure to bring up new generation of lawyers who will think more critically and analyse comprehensive and argue articulately,” the CJI said.

He said it must be asked as to how many law schools are serving the purpose they were designed for and added that the primary reason for setting up the five-year law schools was to strengthen the bar.

Besides Justice Gogoi, Delhi High Court Chief Justice D N Patel, who is the chancellor of the NLU, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev, NLU vice chancellor Ranbir Singh and registrar G S Bajpai were also present in the programme.

Degrees were conferred on the students of LLM and BA. LLB courses and the toppers were also awarded with gold medals and cash prizes.

Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev was also awarded a degree in LLM professional course and a gold medal.

Justice Gogoi said the five-year model was aimed at developing socially conscious lawyers who serve society by developing skills in the field of advocacy, legal aid, legislation or reforms and also organise lectures, conferences and promote legal knowledge.

“One will necessarily have to look on the role and functioning of lawyers and try and understand why in spite of great attractions and opportunities that the legal profession offers, the law graduates natural choice is not the legal profession, he said.

He added that lawyers also act as adjudicators, negotiators and mediators and they are great educators too. Career in law firms and corporates have become popular choices and continue to remain so, the CJI said, adding that the highly attractive career at the bar and the bench also needs to be highlighted.

Practice of law is a reasonably lucrative profession. I do not wish to be drawn into the financial side of the legal profession… All that I would like to say is that the issue is left to the members of the bar to ponder and decide, the CJI said.

He also spoke about the hefty fee structures in law schools and said “if existing fee structure acts as economical barrier to education, then in a country like ours, it is nothing short of a tragedy”.

A lawyer’s mind is always an open mind, he can take any case and fight it out within the framework of law. “Until and unless the bar is strong, our legal system cannot function efficiently,” he said.

Bar is a feeder to benches also. Most of the judges in the higher judiciary are drawn from the bar, he said.

Let me tell you life at this side of the bar, the bench, is not bad. I have been on this for 20 years now. The levels of satisfaction are very high, the CJI said.

On freedom of choice, he said, Say no and a big no to anything and everything that appear to your mind to be morally and actually regressive. Say yes to everything which you think can be offered to anybody.

SC to hear plea challenging Rafale deal on October 10

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear a fresh PIL against the Rafale deal between India and France on Wednesday.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph Monday said it will hear the PIL filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda, who is seeking a direction to the Centre to reveal details of the deal and the comparative prices during the UPA and NDA rule in a sealed cover to the apex court.

The petition also sought information about the contract given to Reliance by Dassault.

Advocate M L Sharma’s plea, filed earlier, alleging discrepancies in the fighter jet deal with France and seeking a stay on it will also come up for hearing on October 10. 

Sharma claimed in his plea that the inter-government agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an “outcome of corruption” and not ratified by Parliament under Article 253 (Parliament has power to make any law for implementing any inter-government agreement) of the Constitution.

A similar plea was filed in the apex court in March this year seeking an independent probe into the Rafale deal and disclosure of the cost involved in the deal before Parliament.

The plea, filed by Congress leader Tehseen S Poonawalla, had sought a direction against the Centre on why the Union Cabinet’s approval was not sought as part of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) before signing the procurement deal with France on September 23, 2016.

Rafale deal is a defence agreement signed between the governments of India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts in a fly-away condition as a part of the upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment.

The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

Indian Air Force had advanced a proposal to buy 126 fighter aircraft in August 2007 and floated a tender. Following this, an invitation was sent to various aviation companies to participate in the bidding process.

Collegium: Further deliberation needed for elevating Judge to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court collegium has favoured “further deliberation” and “broad-based consideration” of names of Chief Justices of various high courts before sending its decision reiterating the elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph as a judge of the top court.

The resolution of the May 16 collegium meeting, uploaded on the supreme court website today, stated that there was need for deliberation on bringing the judges from the high courts, which are not represented, to the Supreme Court.

“Today (May 16), in the meeting of the Collegium, a unanimous view was expressed that there should be further deliberation and broad-based consideration of the names of the Chief Justices as well as Judges of the High Courts which are at present not represented in the Supreme Court.

“In view of the above, the meeting stands deferred to be held at the earliest,” the resolution said.

Official sources on May 16 had said that the Collegium comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and four senior most judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, deliberated for more than an hour. This meeting was the second in five days.

Today was the last working day of Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, as the court’s summer vacation starts tomorrow.

At its previous meeting on May 11, the Collegium had agreed in principle to reiterate its recommendation for elevating Justice Joseph as a judge of the supreme  court, almost three weeks after it was returned by the Centre, but could not decide on a date.

It had then adopted a resolution which also stated that there was a need for further discussion on the issue of sending the other names of judges to the Centre.

“The Chief Justice and other members of the Collegium have, on principle, unanimously agreed that the recommendation for appointment of Justice K M Joseph, Chief Justice, Uttarakhand High Court (Parent High Court: Kerala)as a Judge of the Supreme Court should be reiterated.

“However, the said reiteration should also be accompanied by the recommendation of the names of Chief Justices of High Courts for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court, for which detailed discussion is required,” the resolution of May 11 had said.

It had also decided to consider the names of other High Court Judges for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court.

Official sources said those high court judges who are in the race to be elevated to the apex court are Chief Justice of Madras High Court Indira Banerjee, who is originally from the Calcutta HC, Gujarat HC Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy, whose parent cadre is Telangana and Andhra Pradesh HC, and Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, who is originally from Rajasthan HC.

The government had on April 26 returned the Collegium’s recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph seeking its reconsideration, saying the proposal was not in accordance with the top court’s parameters and there was adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judiciary from where he hails. It had also questioned his seniority for elevation as a judge of the apex court.

The Collegium has recommended the name of Additional Judge Justice Ramchandra Singh Jhala to be appointed as a permanent judge of the Rajasthan High Court.

“… the Collegium resolves to recommend, for the present, that Justice Ramchandra Singh Jhala, Additional Judge be appointed as Permanent Judge of the Rajasthan High Court against one of the existing vacancies,” its resolution had said.

Supreme Court: Woman can file complaint against ex-husband for cruelty even after divorce

A woman can lodge a complaint under the domestic violence law against the excesses committed by her ex-husband even after the dissolution of marriage, the Supreme Court has said.

The top court refused to interfere with the order of the Rajasthan High Court which held that the absence of subsisting domestic relationship in no manner prevents a court from granting relief to the aggrieved woman.

The high court had passed the order while adjudicating a matrimonial dispute.

A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Navin Sinha dismissed the appeal against the high court verdict, saying it was not inclined to interfere with the order in the facts of the case.

During the hearing, advocate Dushyant Parashar,appearing for the estranged husband, said that the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which came into force on October 26, 2006, could not be applied retrospectively.

He submitted that if the provisions of the domestic violence law were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would be subjected to gross misuse.

Parashar contended that husband-wife relationship often ends on an acrimonious note and if the provisions of the Act were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would further increase the acrimony and rule out the possibility of any compromise.

He said that legislature’s purposive interpretation has to be kept in mind while interpreting any provisions of the law.

The bench, however, refused to agree with the contention of Parashar and declined to interfere with the high court order in the facts of the case.

The high court had held on October 30, 2013 that the subsistence of marriage or domestic relationship was not a condition precedent for an aggrieved person to invoke the protection orders and other reliefs under the provisions of the Act.

“If the aggrieved person had been in domestic relationship at any point of time even prior to coming into the force of the Act and was subjected to domestic violence, the person is entitled to invoke the remedial measures provided under the Act,” it had said.

The high court had said cited an example saying that even after the dissolution of marriage between the parties, if an ex-husband attempts to commit an act of violence such as entering the place of employment of the divorced wife, trying to establish contact with her or causing violence to her dependents or other relatives, she is not precluded from seeking protection orders under the law.

It had said that likewise, if the divorced husband attempts to dispossess the woman from the shared household or property jointly owned, she can approach a court for appropriate relief.A woman can lodge a complaint under the domestic violence law against the excesses committed by her ex-husband even after the dissolution of marriage, the Supreme Court has said.

The top court refused to interfere with the order of the Rajasthan High Court which held that the absence of subsisting domestic relationship in no manner prevents a court from granting relief to the aggrieved woman.

The high court had passed the order while adjudicating a matrimonial dispute.

A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Navin Sinha dismissed the appeal against the high court verdict, saying it was not inclined to interfere with the order in the facts of the case.

During the hearing, advocate Dushyant Parashar,appearing for the estranged husband, said that the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which came into force on October 26, 2006, could not be applied retrospectively.

He submitted that if the provisions of the domestic violence law were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would be subjected to gross misuse.

Parashar contended that husband-wife relationship often ends on an acrimonious note and if the provisions of the Act were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would further increase the acrimony and rule out the possibility of any compromise.

He said that legislature’s purposive interpretation has to be kept in mind while interpreting any provisions of the law.

The bench, however, refused to agree with the contention of Parashar and declined to interfere with the high court order in the facts of the case.

The high court had held on October 30, 2013 that the subsistence of marriage or domestic relationship was not a condition precedent for an aggrieved person to invoke the protection orders and other reliefs under the provisions of the Act.

“If the aggrieved person had been in domestic relationship at any point of time even prior to coming into the force of the Act and was subjected to domestic violence, the person is entitled to invoke the remedial measures provided under the Act,” it had said.

The high court had said cited an example saying that even after the dissolution of marriage between the parties, if an ex-husband attempts to commit an act of violence such as entering the place of employment of the divorced wife, trying to establish contact with her or causing violence to her dependents or other relatives, she is not precluded from seeking protection orders under the law.

It had said that likewise, if the divorced husband attempts to dispossess the woman from the shared household or property jointly owned, she can approach a court for appropriate relief.

Collegium meet on Justice K M Joseph’s elevation to Supreme Court concludes

A crucial meeting of the Supreme Court Collegium was held today to discuss the issue of reconsidering the name of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph for elevation to the apex court, after it was returned by the Centre.

Official sources said the members of the Collegium deliberated on the issue for nearly an hour. Details on the outcome of the meeting are awaited.

All members of the Collegium — Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, participated in the deliberations.

The decision to convene the meeting was taken late last evening by the CJI.

It is pertinent to mention that Justice J Chelameswar, the senior-most judge of the apex court, had on May 9 written a letter to the CJI urging him to convene the Collegium meet to urgently forward Justice Joseph’s name to the Centre.

The government had on April 26 returned the Collegium’s recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph seeking its reconsideration, saying the proposal was not in accordance with the top court’s parameters and there was adequate representation of Kerala in the higher judiciary from where he hails. It had also questioned his seniority for elevation as a judge of the apex court.

According to an apex court official, Justice Chelameswar, in his letter sent to the CJI, had conveyed that he was reiterating his decision favaouring elevation of Justice Joseph as the judge of the top court as there was no change in the circumstances that had led the Collegium to recommend his name to the government on January 10.

It is also learnt that Justice Chelameswar, who retires on June 22, has responded to all the points raised in the communication to the CJI by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressing reservations on the elevation of Justice Joseph.

The meeting of the Collegium was expected to take place on May 9 but Justice Chelameswar was on leave.

Justice Kurian Joseph, during his visit to Kerala last week, had also reportedly made it clear that he was in favour of reiterating the recommendation of the Collegium on the issue concerning the Uttarakhand Chief Justice.

Supreme Court to examine Shanti Bhushan’s PIL on allocation of cases

The Supreme Court today decided to examine a PIL filed by former law minister Shanti Bhushan challenging the existing roster practice of allocation of cases by the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in dealing with the PIL stating that the CJI cannot exercise arbitrary power in allocation of cases.

However, the bench took objection when Bhushan’s counsel made an attempt to bring to its notice the unprecedented January 12 press conference held by four of the court’s most senior judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — who had accused Chief Justice Dipak Misra of arbitrarily allocating cases.

“We are not going to go into it. We are not concerned with it for many reasons and obvious reasons. Don’t say all this,” the bench said.

The apex court will now hear the matter on April 27.

The bench said it has already held that the CJI is the ‘master of roster’.

The bench was referring to the apex court’s April 11 verdict, which said the Chief Justice of India is the “first among equals” and occupies a unique position with the “exclusive prerogative” to allocate cases and set up benches to hear cases.

At the outset, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Shanti Bhushan, said the petition raises the substantial question of interpretation of constitutional provisions and also questions how matters are being listed in the apex court contrary to the Supreme Court Rules.

Dave claimed the CJI was exercising his power only in in exceptional matters but the apex court registry should be bound by its own rules.

“In democracy there is nothing called absolute discretion,” he said, questioning the manner in which some sensitive cases were assigned to particular benches in the top court.

He also clarified that they were not against any individual and don’t propose to make any personal allegations against anyone.

The bench, however, said it would be “very difficult” to decide which was a sensitive matter and which was not.

“As far as CJI being the ‘master of roster’ is concerned, there is no dispute. In a way you are challenging the manner in which this power is exercised,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was also in the court room, said they had come to the court “with a heavy heart”.

“The problem is that we are troubled. Truly troubled. We are not against any individual. This is the highest court of this land. We have to respect the institution. We are troubled how it is being handled today. We are not attributing any motives,” Sibal said.

The bench, after hearing the submissions, told ASG Tushar Mehta, who was present in the court room, that it would like to have the assistance of the attorney general or him in the matter.

Bhushan’s petition came up for hearing a day after a bench headed by Justice Chelameswar, who is the most senior judge after the CJI, refused to order its listing saying he did not want his order to be reversed again in 24 hours.

After Chelameswar’s refusal, Bhushan’s son and advocate Prashant Bhushan mentioned the matter before a bench headed by the CJI which had allocated it for hearing before a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri, who is number six in seniority.

When Shanti Bhushan filed the PIL, Prashant Bhushan had written to the secretary general of the apex court stating that the matter should not be listed before a bench that includes the CJI.

The petition names the CJI as one of the respondents along with the registrar of the Supreme Court.

In his PIL, Shanti Bhushan has stated that the “master of roster” cannot be unguided and unbridled discretionary power, exercised arbitrarily by the CJI by hand-picking benches of select judges or by assigning cases to particular judges.

The petition said the CJI’s authority as the master of roster is “not an absolute, arbitrary, singular power that is vested in the chief justice alone and which may be exercised with his sole discretion”.

It said that such an authority should be exercised by the CJI in consultation with the senior judges of the Supreme Court in keeping with the various pronouncements of the court.

The petition assumes significance in light of the January 12 press conference when the judges said the situation in the top court was “not in order” and many “less than desirable” things have taken place.

PIL in SC over CJI’s administrative authority as of roster

Senior advocate and former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan today filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking clarification on the administrative authority of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) as the master of roster and for laying down the principles and procedure to be followed in preparing it for allocation of cases.

He filed the PIL through his advocate and son Prashant Bhushan who wrote a letter to the supreme court’s secretary general stating that the matter should not be listed before a bench that includes the CJI.

In the letter, Prashant also said that it would be appropriate that the petition be listed before three senior-most judges of the top court for allocating it before an appropriate bench.

In the petition, CJI Dipak Misra has been named as one of the respondents along with the registrar of the Supreme Court.

The senior advocate has stated that the “master of roster” cannot be unguided and unbridled discretionary power, exercised arbitrarily by the CJI by hand-picking benches of select judges or by assigning cases to particular judges.

The petition said the CJI’s authority as the master of roster is “not an absolute, arbitrary, singular power that is vested in the chief justice alone and which may be exercised with his sole discretion.”

It said that such an authority should be exercised by him in consultation with the senior judges of the Supreme Court in keeping with the various pronouncement of this court.

This petition assumes significance as on January 12 this year four senior most judges- Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph- of the Supreme Court had called a press conference and said that the situation in the top court was “not in order” and many “less than desirable” things have taken place.

The four judges had also raised the issue of allocation of important and sensitive PILs before junior judges of the supreme court.

SC judges row has been resolved: Bar Council of India

The Bar Council of India (BCI) today said the crisis, which had erupted after four top Supreme Court judges came out openly against allocation of cases by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, has been resolved internally and the “story is over now”.

BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, who led a seven-member delegation and held hectic parleys with 15 judges including the CJI yesterday, said the controversial issues flagged by the four revolting judges were “internal issues of the family” which have been resolved internally.

“Kahani khatam ho gaya (the story is over now)”, he said even as he cautioned political parties and their leaders not to take undue mileage from the January 12 press conference by the four judges to raise problems, including the assigning of cases, saying the matter should not be politicised.

“We met around 15 judges yesterday and all of them said that BCI has done a very good job and this mediation was required. They have now resolved the issue.

“BCI has been successful in its effort. No outside interference was required in the matter and even we will not impose any condition on them and they themselves would solve their differences over a cup of tea,” he told reporters here.

At a press conference on January 12, the four judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had flagged some issues, including assigning of cases in the apex court and judicial appointments, and said there were certain problems afflicting the country’s highest court.

“Everything will be sorted out and they have resolved whatever issues are there. We are expecting that everything will be settled and they will evolve an in-house mechanism,” Mishra.

He also referred to Attorney General’s K K Venugopal’s statement in which he is reported to have said that the issue has been resolved.

“They have resolved the issue and you can see that the courts are functioning smoothly and they are discharging their duties. There is nothing left”, Mishra said.

Responding to a question whether an investigation should be ordered on allegations of the senior most judges, Mishra said the Bar body was not concerned with this and there is no question of any probe.

He also said the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, who was trying the Sohrabudin Sheikh fake encounter case, should not be raked up as his family members have made their stand clear and want no more harassment.

“There is no question of any probe (into points raised by four judges in the presser). If somebody tries to bring Justice Loya’s issue then you can see their family members have already said there is no need for any investigation and they were being unnecessary harassed.

“We are only concerned with smooth functioning of this institution. We have no right to say and decide whether there should be a Code of Conduct,” he said.

On the issue of bringing more clarity in the functioning of the top court, the BCI Chairman said the system was working properly and “there was transparency”.

“They have evolved a formula and while rejecting a name for elevation they are assigning the reason and it is there on the Supreme Court website. What more transparency do you want,” he said.

He said all the four top judges have resolved the differences and were attending the court today.

To a question whether any action should be taken against them for criticising the Chief Justice of India, he said there is no need of any action and they “are all honest and men of integrity.”

Yesterday, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had met a seven-member delegation of the BCI and Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh and assured them that the crisis would be sorted out soon and congeniality would prevail.

Source : PTI

Court notice to centre; Reliance on gas price

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre, Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on a public interest litigation petition challenging the government’s decision to double the price to $8.4 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu) for gas produced from the KG basin.

A Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justices Ranjana Desai and Ranjan Gogoi also issued notice to the Petroleum Ministry, NIKO Resources Ltd and BP Exploration (Alpha) Limited on the plea filed by CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta and the former Power Secretary, E.A.S. Sarma.

Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, said the decision to raise gas price should be reviewed as the Minister had overruled the opinion of senior officers of his ministry and his predecessor. When Justice Sathasivam wanted to know “why the parties can’t go for arbitration,” counsel pointed out that the Minister had given a statement that he wanted to junk arbitration and that the government would not proceed with the process.

Counsel alleged that the Minister “bats for Reliance” and had overruled the decision of the Director-General of Hydro Carbons to impose a fine on it.

Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Reliance Industries, however, said, “We want arbitration to go on. We will file an application for appointment of the third arbitrator.”

Justice Sathasivam told counsel “It [PIL petition] requires examination. When a Member of Parliament comes and makes an assertion it cannot be decided at the admission stage. We are not expressing any opinion at this stage.”

“Illegal, mala fide’

The petitioners said the government had acted illegally, unreasonably, irrationally and with mala fide in granting excessive benefits to the respondents, thereby virtually bankrupting the exchequer and adversely affecting the Indian economy as a whole. The contractors allegedly incurred investment costs for the full capacity of 80 MMSCMD and recovered all these costs and perhaps more from the government through the sale of gas priced at $4.2 per mmbtu. Simultaneously, the contractors deliberately reduced production, thus holding the country to ransom at a time when gas demand far outstripped supply. By June 2013, only 9 out of 18 wells were in production and gas sales were only 18% of the target of 80 MMSCMD. The reduction was done in anticipation of a price rise and this was confirmed by government’s announcement that from April 2014 the price would be increased to $8.4 mmbtu.

“RIL, which had gone in for arbitration, had already recovered this amount from the sale of natural gas. They appointed Justice S.P. Bharucha as their arbitrator. The government appointed Justice V.N. Khare as its arbitrator. Both judges met and were in the process of appointing the third arbitrator in October 2012 but could not do so.” RIL would be sitting pretty if the arbitration was not proceeded with. “It is the government which stands to lose up to $ 2.4 billion by the end of the current year, by not proceeding with the arbitration. The Petroleum Ministry is deliberately not proceeding with arbitration to allow RIL to get away without paying penalties for the shortfall in production.”

The petitioners sought a direction to RIL and NIKO to forthwith relinquish those areas of the KG basin as recommended by CAG; to appoint a third arbitrator (umpire) and to proceed with arbitration expeditiously and complete it within six months; to fix the price of domestically produced gas in rupees, and not in dollars or any other currency, and to stay the doubling of the gas price.

(Source: IANS)