"Government has issued new guidelines. It is not going by the formula for gas pricing recommended by C Rangarajan Committee and the new guidelines would supersede the earlier guidelines," Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar submitted before a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur.
    
The Centre's response was to the question raised by the court on September 18 asking it to make its stand clear on fixation of the price for gas from Krishna-Godavari basin as to whether it sticks to the previous UPA dispensation's policy or making any departure from it.
    
The Solictor General said 'new domestic natural gas policy' was approved by the government on October 18 raising natural gas price to USD 5.61 per mmBtu from November 1 and "recommendation of the Rangarajan Committee would not be given effect".
    
The Rangarajan formula on gas pricing was approved by the previous UPA government. Rangarajan was Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the then Prime Minister.
    
The Solicitor General said he will place before the bench the submissions to butress why the new guidelines are better than the earlier recommended.
    
The bench was hearing the PILs filed in 2013 by senior CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta and the NGO, Common Cause, challenging the UPA government decision to double the price of natural gas from 4.2 US dollar to 8.4 dollar per mmbtu and seeking cancellation of Reliance Industries Ltd's contract for exploration of oil and gas from the KG basin.
    
The third PIL on the issue has been filed by advocate M L Sharma.
    
Responding to the bench's query, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for RIL, said "he is not happy with the new guidelines".
    
He also submitted that the court should hear the matter after the proceeding before an arbitral tribunal on the dispute of gas pricing between RIL and Centre is decided.
    
While the Centre maintained that the issue raised by Dasgupta has been addressed with the new guidelines, advocate Prashant Bhushan said several other issues raised by him in the NGO's petition needs to be argued and also claimed that a draft CAG report suggested that RIL "hugely over-estimated" the reserves of the KG gas block and other irregularities are cited.

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