“Tell them to change their name from Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to God”

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The Supreme Court on Monday launched an unusual attack against the union petroleum ministry, headed by Dharmendra Pradhan, when it asked if the the latter considered itself to be ‘God or a ‘super government.’ Angered by the ministry’s laxity in responding to the top court, a bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta imposed a fine of Rs 25,000.

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“Is the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas a God? Are they God? They would respond whenever they want? Tell them to change their name from Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to God”, the bench asked.

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The bench didn’t stop there. They asked if the petroleum ministry thought that the Supreme Court judges were “unemployed” and they were at the mercy of the ministry.

“If they (the Ministry) do not feel like complying with the orders, they do not comply, and think that the unemployed judges of the Supreme Court will give them time. Are we supposed to be at the mercy of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.” IANS quoted the bench as saying.

The judges were incensed when they were informed by Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, appearing for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had only on Sunday apprised them about the issue of ban on import of pet coke, which is used as industrial fuel.

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“Is MoPNG a super government? Is it above the Government of India? What is the status of MoPNG, tell us. Why are they not complying with any order,” the bench was quoted by PTI.

The judges said that they were surprised by the attitude of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in taking their own time in responding to the Ministry of Environment’s communication. The bench concluded that the delay was entirely because of the laxity of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas before slapping a fine of Rs 25,000. The bench asked the ministry to deposit the amount with the Supreme Court Legal Services Authority on or before 13 July.

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The bench warned that it would enhance the fine if the amount was not deposited before the given date.

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