"PNGRB has usurped the state function by misinterpreting the legal provisions," former Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi, appearing for Delhi government-owned IGL, told a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.
The oil and gas regulator lacked the power to fix network tariff and compression charge for PNG and CNG, which, in any case, cannot be exercised with "retrospective" effect, said Tripathi.
"First of all, there was no such power (with PNGRB), even if it is assumed that there is such a power then it (price fixation) has to be fixed and implemented with prospective effect," the lawyer for IGL said and cited various case laws in support of his argument.
The IGL, sole supplier of PNG and CNG in Delhi and its suburbs, had earlier moved the court against the order of PNGRB, which has slashed network tariff and CNG compression charge and asked IGL to refund the excess amount charged by it from consumers since 2008.
Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok, appearing for PNGRB, however opposed the IGL's plea and said the regulator was "well within" its powers to slash the network tariff and CNG compression charge on sale of piped natural gas (PNG) and CNG here for extending benefits to consumers.
PNGRB, in its order on April 9, had not only fixed the charges with retrospective effect from April 1, 2008 but had also ordered IGL to refund extra money, charged by it, to customers. (More)