PMT Gas fields case; Centre moves SC against arbitrator
Government today moved the Supreme Court seeking removal of foreign arbitrator appointed by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) over its dispute over the Panna, Mukta and Tapti oil and gas fields.
`It sought removal of Peter Leaver QC, who was appointed the arbitrator after May 28, 2014, order of the apex court setting aside a Delhi High Court order by which it had agreed to hear the government’s plea against the arbitration proceedings in London.
A Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and P C Pant issued notice to RIL and said the only legal question involved was whether the Centre can invoke the jurisdictional issue when review and curative petitions have been dismissed by the apex court.
The court posted the matter for hearing on April 15 on the Centre’s submission made by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that there was a need to change the arbitrator who allegedly has been biased.
The apex court on May 28 last year had allowed the plea of RIL arbitration in London over its dispute with the Centre on the Panna, Mukta and Tapti oil and gas fields.
It had said that the high court committed “jurisdictional error” in agreeing to hear the government’s plea.
The court had said that in the production-sharing contract, RIL and the Petroleum Ministry had “consciously agreed” for arbitration in London in case of any dispute.
Tapti, Panna and Mukta fields were awarded to a joint unincorporated venture of Reliance Industries and Enron Oil and Gas India Ltd in 1994 after biddings.
In 2002, BG Exploration and Production India Ltd acquired the share capital of Enron Oil and Gas India Ltd. The production-sharing contract was to be operative for a period of 25 years expiring in 2019.