SC approves Cairn deal with Vedanta

However, after a close scrutiny of records, the apex court ruled that the PIL had been filed without correctly appreciating the impugned decision, its reasons and also the complexities of economic and commercial matters that gave liberty to the state and its instrumentalities to take an appropriate decision after weighing the advantages and disadvantages.

"This court is not justified in interfering with those decisions, especially when there is nothing to show that those decisions are contrary to law or actuated to mala fide or irrelevant considerations," said the bench, adding that the ONGC and the government had considered various commercial and technical aspects before deciding not to buy the shares in Cairn India.

It noted that experts had advised ONGC not to buy the shares since the proposed value of shares was way more than the value estimated and hence defied commercial viability.

"Matters relating to economic issues, have always an element of trial and error. So long as trial and error are bona fide and with best intentions, such decisions cannot be questioned as arbitrary, capricious or illegal," said the court, underlining that the approval to the deal was based on deliberations at many appropriate levels of government.

The bench also dismissed the petitioner's request to rely on indictment of the government by the Comptroller and Auditor General in allegedly granting extension to Cairn India for carrying out exploration activities beyond the period framed by the Rajasthan block production sharing contract.

"The CAG, indisputably, is an independent constitutional functionary. However, it is for the Parliament to decide whether after receiving the report i.e. Public Accounts Committee, to make its comments on the CAG's report," the bench said.

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