SC dismisses PIL against 4G licences to Reliance

SC dismisses PIL against 4G licences to Reliance
SC dismisses PIL against 4G licences to Reliance

The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL filed by an NGO challenging grant of 4G licences to MukeshAmbani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL).

A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur junked the petition of NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), which challenged the government’s decision to allow the company to offer voice services on its 4G spectrum.

The apex court, however, asked the government to look into the issue of spectrum usage charge (SUC) but did not pass any order on this.

The PIL, filed in 2014 through advocate Prashant Bhushan, had sought quashing of the permission granted by the Government to Reliance for providing voice telephony on Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum and pitched for a court-monitored CBI investigation in the alleged Rs 40,000 crore scam.

( Source – PTI )


SC to hear PIL against 4G licences to Reliance on Jan 12

SC to hear PIL against 4G licences to Reliance on Jan 12
SC to hear PIL against 4G licences to Reliance on Jan 12

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear in January 2016 a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by an NGO challenging grant of 4G licences to Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL). A Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and Kurian Joseph fixed January 12 for the hearing.

This was after advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner-NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, requested time.

During the brief hearing, Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar told the Bench that the case was different from the earlier 2G spectrum scam.

The apex court had earlier issued notice to the Centre, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and the RJIL on the petition challenging the government’s decision to allow Mr. Mukesh Ambani’s company to offer voice services on its 4G spectrum.

( Source – PTI )

Rash driving: Rs 17 L compensation for victim’s kin

Rash driving: Rs 17 L compensation for victim's kin
Rash driving: Rs 17 L compensation for victim’s kin

Family members of a 21-year-old youth, who died after being hit by a rashly-driven motorcycle, have been awarded compensation of over Rs 17 lakh by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here.

The tribunal directed Reliance General Insurance Co Ltd, insurer of the offending motorcycle, to pay Rs 17,01,864 toDelhi resident Imran, who suffered injuries in the mishap in March 2013.

“From the statement of prosecution witness 2, Abbas (eyewitness), and in view of Detailed Accident Report regarding the accident, it is proved that the deceased Imran sustained fatal injuries in the accident which occurred on March 27, 2013 due to rash and negligent driving of offending vehicle… Driven by its driver,” MACT presiding officer Kiran Bansal said.

“Award is passed directing respondent no 2, Reliance General Insurance Co Ltd to pay to the claimant/petitioner no 1 (Imran’s mother) a sum of Rs 17,01,864,” the tribunal said.

According to the petition, on March 27, 2013, at about 1.15 pm, Imran was hit by a motorcycle, being driven in a rash and negligent manner, while he was crossing a road in east Delhi here.

Due to the impact, he fell down on the road and sustained grievous injuries. Thereafter, he was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died during the course of treatment.

Thereafter, the family members of Imran filed a petition before the tribunal seeking the compensation.

They had claimed in the petition that Imran was working as a carpenter and earning Rs 15,000 per month.

The driver of the motorcycle, however, denied the allegations and claimed that he was falsely implicated by the police in collusion with the petitioners.


( Source – PTI )

RInfra justifies Metro fare in HC; says it’s cost-based

vvvAnil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure today justified in the Bombay High Court its decision to charge fares in the range of Rs 10-40 for various destinations for the Mumbai Metro route connecting Versova and Andheri in the west to Ghatkopar in the East.

In an affidavit, RInfra said the fares were fixed on the basis of the cost of the project and a flat rate of Rs 10 was currently being charged as a promotional fare for a month. However, the maximum fare would be increased to Rs 40 later.

Justice R D Dhanuka took the affidavit on record and deferred the hearing till June 19, while asking Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), the nodal infrastructure agency of Maharashtra Government, to file a rejoinder on that day.

MMRDA, which holds 26 per cent stake in Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) and challenged the operator’s fare structure, argued that it had suggested fares in the range of Rs nine to Rs 13 after consulting the ‘fare fixation committee’ and taking into consideration all the aspects.

RInfra has taken a stand that “the initial fare has been fixed and notified as Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30 and Rs 40 under section 33 of the Central Metro Act 2002. As per the Central government’s directive, the MMOPL is the Metro Railway Administration (MRA) and the fare for the Mumbai Metro is to be fixed afresh by MMOPL…”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had said on Saturday said that these fares were not acceptable to the government. MMRDA on Monday moved the High Court in an arbitration petition challenging the fares devised by its project partner RInfra.

MMRDA’s petition says the consortium had agreed on the structure under which fares were to be Rs Nine (up to 3 kms), Rs 11 (from 3 to 8 kms) and Rs 13 (for more than 8 kms).

It has also sought a stay on the fares sought to be introduced by RInfra, but the court is yet to give a decision on this. The next hearing has been fixed on June 19.

(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)

Court notices to centre, Reliance on gas price

Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the centre and Reliance Industries on a public interest litigation seeking review of the recent government decision to hike from 2014 the gas prices from $4.2 to $8.4 million British thermal unit (mmBtu).

The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam issued notice on the PIL by CPI leader and senior parliamentarian Gurudas Dasgupta contending that the government decided to hike the gas prices without taking into account its disastrous consequences on the country’s economy, particularly power and the fertilizer sector.

Mr. Dasgupta has contended that the price hike was decided even when five cabinet ranking ministers had opposed the move.

The PIL sought the enforcement of relinquishment laws by which government should reclaim 80 percent of the KG Basin gas field that has not been utilised by Reliance.

Directing the listing of the matter Sep 6, senior counsel Harish Salve accepted notice on behalf of Reliance. Notices are returnable in four weeks.

(Source: IANS)

Mobile Towers: NGT issues notice to American Corp

The response of American Tower Corporation Ltd has sought by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on a plea alleging that mobile phone towers across the country are being installed in violation of stipulated guidelines.
A bench comprising acting Chairperson Justice A S Naidu and expert member P C Mishra issued notice to the American company after a plea was moved to implead it as a party in the case.

“A petition has been filed to implead American Tower Corporation Ltd as respondent no 12. It is submitted that the said respondent is likely to be affected by any order passed in this case. Considering the submissions made the prayer is allowed.

According to the bench, “Notice on question of maintainability of the application be issued to the newly added respondent.”

The NGT was hearing Delhi resident Arvind Gupta’s plea alleging inaction on the government’s part in strictly implementing guidelines regarding installation of mobile towers in the country.

In his plea filed through advocate B P Tripathy, Gupta has alleged that “norms are flouted brazenly by all companies involved with installation of mobile towers” and the Department of Telecommunications has not been implementing the guideline while allowing setting up of the towers.

The NGT bench has also given the other parties in the case three more weeks to file their replies, after they sought more time, and has listed the matter for further hearing on January 17, 2013.

Earlier on November 21, the Tribunal had sought the response of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Communications & IT, Ministry of Health, Securities and Exchange Board of India and telecom firms — Bharti Infratel Ltd, Airtel BSE 2.87 %, Idea, Vodaphone, Tata, Reliance and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.

The NGT on November 21 had restrained the telecom firms from setting up fresh mobile towers in the country without following mandatory provisions of law and obtaining the necessary permission from the competent authority.

In his original plea, Gupta has submitted that with the growth in the telecom sector the 3,76,000 mobile towers that existed at the end of March 2012 would increase to 420,000 by the end of March 2017.

He alleged that radiations emitted by towers not only adversely affect flora and fauna, but can also cause cancer in human beings.

Gupta has moved the Tribunal seeking directions to the Centre and the telecom firms for implementing guidelines and regulations issued by the MoEF regarding installation of cell phone towers nationwide.

He has also sought constituting of a high powered committee of experts to lay guidelines for limiting cell phone tower radiation before installing any new towers.


RPower files arbitration against 11 procurers of Krishnapatnam UMPP

Reliance Power(RPower), announced that it had filed arbitration proceedings under the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, against 11 procurers of electricity from its 4,000 MW Krishnapatnam Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) in Andhra Pradesh.

The procurers of power include four distribution companies in Andhra Pradesh, five in Karnataka and one each in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

In a statement issued here, the RPower company said the ‘Statement of claim’ has cited relevant clauses under the power purchase agreement (PPA) signed between Coastal Andhra Power Ltd (CAPL), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Power Ltd (RPower Ltd ) and procurers comprising 11 state distribution companies in four States. The PPA provides for resolution of disputes by arbitration under the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

CAPL has already sent a dispute resolution notice on March 13, for an amicable solution under the PPA between the parties. The procurers had not responded to the notice. Monday’s filing is in continuation of the same.

CAPL has said that the change in regulations in Indonesia, which is beyond its control has impacted all imported coal fired projects in India with nearly 15,000 MW capacity involving an investment of nearly Rs.75,000 crore.

Earlier, on a petition filed by Coastal Andhra Power Ltd (CAPL), the Delhi High Court has passed an order directing that no coercive steps shall be taken against CAPL by the procurers of Krishnapatnam UMPP. The matter is before Delhi High Court.

The companies that have been impacted had appealed to the government to permit them to increase power tariffs from the affected plants. The government has asked the producers and the procurers to resolve the matter bilaterally.