People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 12

March 13, 2012


 ‘Decide KG Basin Gas Price Anew’


THROUGH a letter written to the prime minister on February 7, CITU general secretary Tapan Sen, MP, drew the former’s attention to an extract (paragraph 63) of the historic judgement given by the Supreme Court on 2G spectrum scam on February 2, 2012.


In the paragraph referred to, the Chief Justice of India, made the following observation: "It must be noted that the constitutional mandate is that the natural resources belong to the people of this country. The nature of the word "vest" must be seen in the context of the public trust doctrine (PTD). Even though this doctrine has been applied in cases dealing with environmental jurisprudence, it has its broader application."


The Chief Justice then referred to the judgement made in the M C Mehta vs Kamal Nath case. It said: "This doctrine is part of Indian law and finds application in the present case as well. It is thus the duty of the government to provide complete protection to the natural resources as a trustee of the people at large."


The apex court also held that natural resources are vested with the government as a matter of trust in the name of the people of India and that it is the solemn duty of the state to protect the national interest, that natural resources must always be used in the interest of the country and not in private interest.


In view of above observation of the Supreme Court on the duty of the state to protect the national interest vis-à-vis natural resources, Sen reiterated his demand regarding the pricing of the KG basin gas. He urged upon the prime minister to intervene in the case immediately and see to it that a reasonable price of natural gas is ensured in national interest and not in private interest. “As a matter of fact,” he said, the “pricing of natural gas should be re-examined de novo by CAG based on actual cost of production at KGD6.”


It will be noted that earlier, in a letter written on January 16, Sen had already drawn the prime minister’s attention to the situation regarding the production sharing contract related to KGD6 in view of the serious default committed by the contractor, i.e. the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).