Niko court challenge to Mukherjee

Vol 13, PW 15 (14 Jan 10) News in Brief

Niko Resources has joined Cairn India and GSPC in attacking remarks by Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in his July 6 budget.

PETROWATCH learns Niko filed a 515-page petition in the Gujarat’s High Court on December 10 in which it describes Mukherjee’s attempt to change the definition of â€کsingle undertaking’ as beyond the powers of the government under Article 14 of the Indian constitution. “Any change in the tax regime plays havoc with a company’s operating profit,â€‌ the petition says.

“The government cannot be permitted to frame or amend a law with backdated effect so as to wriggle out of any unpleasant or losing situation.â€‌ Admitting the petition on December 16, Judges KA Puj and Rajesh Shukla granted interim relief to Niko for any backdated taxes the Canadian explorer might owe as a result of the new definition of â€کsingle undertaking’ that Mukherjee introduced with retrospective effect starting April 1, 2000.

The next hearing is slated for January 18.