SC restrains government from divesting HZL stake

New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday restrained the government from divesting of its 29 percent stake in Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) till further orders.

Pulling up the government, an apex court bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice R. Banumathi asked: “What is the compulsion to divest now? Why are you in hurry? You have already committed a violation when you divested in 2002 and this does not mean we will allow you to sell the remainder of the stake without amending the law.”

The court’s observation came as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi sought to defend the government decision to offload its remaining stake in HZL.

Rohatgi contended that HZL had ceased to be a government company after the 2002 disinvestment and the government was no longer interested in continuing with it.

Prashant Bhushan, the counsel for the petitioner, National Confederation of Officers Association, told the court that if an illegality was committed in 2002, it could not be perpetuated.

Bhushan said 29 percent government stake could not be divested without parliamentary approval.

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