Court rejects plea against disinvestment of HPCL, BPCL

Thursday, 24 April 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a plea against the government's decision to disinvest its shares in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

Judges B.C. Patel and A.K. Sikri refused to even record a statement on the case from the petitioner, the Federation of All India Petroleum Traders Association.

The group earlier petitioned the high court against the disinvestment in February but the court said since the disinvestment of public sector firm Balco in Chhattisgarh had been allowed, it should be done for HPCL and BPCL also.

The petitioners decided to withdraw the case from the high court, in effect accepting the judgement given by the court. They then sought a judgement from the Supreme Court, which has put a stay on the disinvestment.

However, the respondents in the case -- the Indian government and the management of HPCL and BPCL -- said that since the association had withdrawn the case, they accepted the court's statements supporting disinvestment.

The respondents said there was no point discussing the case in the Supreme Court because of this. Following this statement, the association Wednesday went back to appeal to the high court, which refused to entertain it on the issue.

Counsel A. Maitri for the All India Petroleum Traders Association argued that Balco could not be compared with HPCL and BPCL.

He said Balco was smaller than HPCL and BPCL and did not have branches across the country like the other two firms.

The association said the disinvestment policy for HPCL and BPCL did not have the approval of the disinvestment committee formed by the government. It said private firms would monopolise the oil market if the firms were disinvested.

The government had announced disinvestment in these companies in January.
Source: IANS
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