Judiciary Cannot Impose Family Pact on Shareholders, Says RIL

In the gas row case, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), arguing before the Supreme Court, has said that judiciary cannot impose a private family accord between a company’s promoters on its shareholders.

Appearing before a three-member bench that is hearing Krishna-Godavari gas dispute, counsel for RIL Rohington Nariman said that the court had to act as an umpire rather than as a bowler or as a fielder.

“The court only has a supervisory role,” Nariman said.

The bench, that is adjudicating the dispute between RIL and Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL), comprises of Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, Justice B Sudershan Reddy and Justice P Sathasivam.

Nariman questioned the maintainability of the stand adopted by the Anil Ambani-led company, saying that RNRL could not seek judicial relief in corporate affairs on the basis of a family agreement.

Nariman is expected to finish his argument in the post-lunch session after which the government counsel, Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran is to start his argument.

The dispute is over the supply of 28 million units of natural gas for 17 years at $2.34 per unit to RNRL from the gas fields off the Andhra Pradesh coast, awarded to Mukesh Ambani-led RIL.

The price, tenure and quantity were all based on a family re-organisation pact in 2005, but RIL subsequently said it could only sell the gas for $4.20 per unit, as this was the price, the company claimed, that was fixed by the government.

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