The Apex Court posted the next hearing for March 20 during which it would examine the RIL's response to the CAG report that had sought disallowance of USD 357.16 million (about Rs 2,179 crore) expenditure RIL incurred on drilling of wells and payments to contractors in KG-D6.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said the Centre can make comments on the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) recommendations and findings only after getting the report of the Parliament's Public Account Committee which is examining it.

The order was passed during a brief hearing of petitions filed in 2013 by senior CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta and NGO Common Cause, challenging the then 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 RIL'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.

A bench headed by Justice T S Thakur also allowed Dasgupta and other petitioners to file their response to the NDA government's fresh guidelines which would "supersede" the earlier UPA dispensation's policy on price fixation for natural gas, including that from KG basin, which has been the bone of contention between the Centre and RIL.

The Solictor General on November 14, 2014 had said before the bench, which also comprised justices J Chelameswar and Kurian Joseph, that the '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 had said that "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.

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