The BEML Employees Association sought an interim stay on the privatisation, claiming that the government could lose control over the defence PSU.

The Karnataka High Court
news Court Wednesday, January 19, 2022 - 16:41

The Karnataka High Court has issued notice to the Union government and Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), located in Bengaluru, over the issue of privatisation of the public sector undertaking. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi on Tuesday, January 18, issued notices after taking up the petition filed by BEML Employees Association General Secretary N Rudraiah, questioning the privatisation.

The senior counsel for the petitioner, N Ravi Varma Kumar, explained that the decision of the Union government to privatise one of its major defence sector industries is not tenable. “In spite of this, the process of privatisation has begun. The process of evaluation of interested bidders had been going on. A memorandum in this regard has been submitted to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, but in vain,” he informed the court. The petition also contended that the government’s approval to sell 26% of BEML shares to private players marks the first time that the Ministry of Defense will lose control of one of its companies, LiveLaw reported.

“At the outset, it is submitted that this is an effort of the government to allow back-door entry to corporations in the defence sector,” the petition further claimed.

“Since it is a defence sector industry owned by the Union government, it should not be privatised. The court should issue an interim stay on the privatisation process. Otherwise, the court should at least issue an order stating that any decision made regarding privatisation of BEML should be subject to the final order of the court,” the counsel requested. The counsel also requested that the Expression of Interest memorandum, issued by the respondents in January, be declared void.

Read: Karnataka CM hints at easing COVID-19 curbs, to meet with experts on Jan 21

Responding to the demands of the counsel for the petitioner, the bench said, “Let the notices be issued to the parties. Once they clear their stands before the court, the issue of an interim stay could be taken up.” The court has adjourned the matter to February 10.

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