New Delhi: The government on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that Cairn India cannot be permitted to export excess crude from its Rajasthan oil field, till India attains "self sufficiency".
"The stand of the central government is unequivocal and unambiguous that as a national policy, export of crude oil is not permitted till India attains self sufficiency," the Centre told a bench of Justice Manmohan.
The submission was made by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas which is opposing Cairn's request for permitting them to export crude oil.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, who was assisted by central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, said, "It is admitted position that between the parties that a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) is entered into by and between the parties and that the petitioner is governed by the terms of the said PSC which prohibits export till India attains self sufficiency."
ASG further said that, "whether to permit exports of crude oil exploited from the fields located within the territory of India (at a time when the country itself is suffering from huge deficit in demand and supply of hydrocarbons and is primarily dependent on imports), essentially falls within the realm of a policy decision, which is to be taken by the government keeping in mind the national interest and large public purpose.
"The decision of the government not to permit export of the oil produced by the petitioner is a policy decision taken by the government, which cannot be in anyway termed to be an arbitrary, irrational or a mala fide decision warranting interference by this court," the Centre submitted.
The court asked the government to show it the copy of the policy under which Cairn was denied permission.
While listing the matter for further hearing on May 18, it also asked them to inform whether there was any law or any contract under which they can restrict Cairn from selling their crude abroad.
The court was hearing the plea of Cairn India, subsidiary of UK-based Vedanta group, seeking directions to the government to permit it to export the excess crude.