The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bids for Hind Copper, SCI soon

New Delhi, Nov. 17: The Supreme Court’s decision to look back at its earlier ruling on the selloff issue has made the disinvestment ministry sit up and hope that the process will now move ahead. Today, it decided to invite bids for stake sales in Shipping Corporation (SCI) and Hindustan Copper (HCL).

“The Jessop union’s case has helped us. Jessop workers wanted a review based on the HPCL-BPCL judgement, but now the Supreme Court has agreed to take a fresh look at the entire issue which means there is every chance that they might scrap their earlier injunction,” said disinvestment ministry officials.

The apex court’s earlier judgement had stalled the sale of those state-run firms which had been set up by Parliament or nationalised by the legislature till the government managed to get parliamentary permission for such sales by repealing the acts which set them up or nationalised them.

Disinvestment ministry officials feel that with today’s judgement the gloom that had surrounded the divestment issue (following the earlier supreme court judgement) has been dispelled.

A spate of petitions challenging the selloff process in various courts had stalled plans to call for bids in SCI and HCL even though they were not set up under acts of Parliament. Today’s hint that the Supreme Court could review its earlier verdict prompted the government to go ahead. “We could have proceeded with the bids earlier and we will now go ahead with full steam,” officials said.

The government recently said it will fall short of the divestment target by Rs 7,000-8,000 crore.

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