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SC nod for arbitration panel in RIL gas row.

THE Supreme Court ( SC) on Tuesday approved an arbitration panel comprising Justices S. P. Bharucha and V. N. Khare-- former Chief Justices of India-- to resolve the dispute between the Centre and Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd ( RIL) over recovery of costs on development of the natural gas field in the Krishna- Godavari ( KG) Basin.

After being informed about the fact that the government had named Justice Khare as its nominee, Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar said that the two judges would now select the third arbitrator.

RIL, along with Crayman Island- based NIKO Ltd, had approached the SC in April for appointment of an arbitrator to settle the dispute. It decided to approach the court after the government showed no inclination to refer the matter for settlement through arbitration.

RIL had issued an arbitration notice to the government in November 2011 but the government refused to nominate its arbitrator and go for arbitration as it contended that the demand by the firm was premature.

Though the government was reluctant in going for arbitration at this stage, it gave in after RIL approached the apex court to invoke the arbitration clause in its agreement with the government.

On July 5, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas finally decided to name Justice Khare as its nominee in the arbitration panel. RIL had already named Justice Bharucha as its nominee.

RIL counsel Harish Salve informed Justice Nijjar that there is no resistance any longer and the Centre had appointed Justice Khare as its nominee.

RIL had decided to go for arbitration over its differences with the government on recovery of costs from sale of gas in the backdrop of a fall in output.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 8, 2012

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