BLAMING it for delay in the arbitration proceedings of a pending dispute related to the Rajiv Gandhi Thermal Power Plant’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday dismissed a case of Reliance Infrastructure Limited against the appointment of a former state chief secretary as arbitrator for resolution of its issues with Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited.
“This Court cannot shut its eyes to the fact that the matter before the Sole Arbitrator is pending since 2016 and the arbitral proceedings have been delayed by the petitioner. The petitioner has made efforts to thwart the arbitral proceedings despite having unconditionally withdrawn its Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court, despite specifically having requested the Sole Arbitrator to proceed with the matter and despite withdrawing its application for recall before the Supreme Court,” the order passed by Justice Alka Sarin read.
The court said that the case has been filed by Reliance in an attempt to reignite the same grounds which had already attained finality. “Since over a year no proceedings have been undertaken in the arbitral proceedings,” the order read.
The disputes in the project arose in 2016 and Reliance asked the HPGCL to appoint an arbitrator in the matter in accordance with the conditions of the contract. Former chief secretary Promila Issar was appointed as the arbitrator with her appointment also approved by state government and later the Governor. However, Reliance Infrastructure Limited challenged the appointment and the matter has since then continued to remain pending before different legal forums.
The thermal power plant is located at Khedar, Hissar, and the contract between the parties was signed in 2007. Both the units of the power plant were made operational later.
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