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The Supreme Court admitted petitions filed by the officers' associations of Engineers India (EIL) and National Fertiliser (NFL) challenging privatisation of the two PSUs.

The two petitions would be heard along with the petition challenging the privatisation of Jessop & Co filed by its staff association. The bench, however, did not allow the stay on divestment proceedings sought by the two petitioners.

The bench of Chief Justice V N Khare, and Justices S B Sinha and S H Kapadia adjourning hearing on Jessop & Co privatisation admitted a transfer petition filed by the Centre for transfer of a case filed before the Rajasthan high court against privatisation of Hindustan Zinc. The bench has decided to group all the challenges to strategic sale of PSUs and hear them together.

In the months following the Supreme Court's order on HPCL and BPCL divestment, petitions were filed in various high courts challenging privatisation of Shipping Corporation of India, Burn Standard & Co and Hindustan Copper, besides Jessop & Co.

The bench had at its last hearing on November 17 ordered a stay on proceedings on SCI, BSL and HCL in the various courts and issue of notices to the petitioners for transfer and tagging of these cases with that of Jessop. The hearing on the transfer petitions of the four PSUs has been listed for February 9. The hearing on Jessop along with EIL, NFL and the other four PSUs would come up after the hearing on the transfer petitions.

The court has also allowed impleadment and intervention petitions of Oil Sector Officers' Association and Centre for Public Interest Litigation for arguing in favour of the ruling on HPCL and BPCL pronounced by the bench of S Rajendra Babu and G P Mathur. The two parties would be given an opportunity to be heard should the bench consider reviewing the order on HPCL and BPCL.

The court, had said that there was a need to seek parliamentary approval for divestment of government holding where a PSU was a creation of an Act of Parliament.

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