MNRE Revises Norms For Dispute Resolution Mechanism 

MNRE Revises Norms For Dispute Resolution Mechanism 

In its latest order, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has revised the guidelines for setting up a Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DSM). The Ministry earlier had issued the norms for the first time in 2018 and later made several amendments. 

The ministry, in the latest order, said that the new norms would supersede all previous orders on DSM. The new norms propose the establishment of a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC). The Ministry has planned to set up the body to settle disputes between renewable energy developers/EPC contractors and renewable energy implementing agencies (REIA). These are meant for issues that are beyond the contractual agreements. The REIAs include mega government agencies like SECI, NTPC, NHPC and SJVN. 

The new order said that the DRC would have three members whose candidatures would be approved by the Union MNRE Minister. The Ministry has fixed the upper age limit of the members at 70 years. MNRE has specially planned to appoint the DRC members only from Delhi to avoid travel costs. As per the mandate, the petitioners in the case can use the mechanism for any project running under any government scheme and under the aegis of the REIAs. The new norms have also laid out the procedure for registering a dispute to seek redressal. 

“In case of all disputes, whether covered by PPA / EPC Contract/ Agreement or not, the application shall have to be made first to the REIA. REIA would pass speaking orders on such requests, with the objective being to give a just solution to the RE Power Developers/ EPC Contractors with a sense of justice and fair play, even in situations not covered by PPA / EPC Contract/ Agreement, so that the aim for setting up of renewable projects are achieved. If the applicant party is not satisfied with the orders of REIA, then it can appeal to the DRC,” the order said. 

The order has also prescribed the time limit for different situations. For example, it has prescribed a time limit of seven days for the developers to move to the REIA for any dispute taking place on the first occasion. It also mandated that the REIA would be bound to give their decision within 21 days after receiving the application. 

If the applicants feel unsatisfied with the REIA decision, they would be at liberty to move to DRC within 21 days of getting the REIA decision. The DRC, meanwhile, would hear the case and recommend its decision to the MNRE. The new norms said the MNRE would present its observation and DRC order to the MNRE Minister for a final decision. The norms also said that if the application is related to the extension of project dates and the DRC order comes in their favour, they would be eligible for the return of their application fees too. 

The order said that all the meetings of the DRC would be held on the premises of MNRE, while the transportation of DRC members would be taken care of by SECI. 

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