SC reserves order on fate of illegal coal blocks
The Supreme Court has reserved its order in the coal block allocation case and has also refrained from giving any specific date to pass the order. Steel and power producers have sought the appointment of a Judicial Commission for fact finding in the case, but the apex court is not in favour of doing the same. The court said it does not want to go through the long drawn process of appointing a judicial panel. The apex court had held that all coal blocks since 1993 have been allocated illegally and arbitrarily, bringing uncertainty to the fate of 218 block allocations. The government too at the hearing on September 1, left it to the apex court to decide the fate of these coal blocks, held as illegal by it, while stating that about 40 blocks are operational and another six are ready to produce 50 million tonnes coal in the current year. The affidavit filed by the Ministry of Coal incorporated the statements made by the Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi on September 1 that the Centre has “no objection” to the cancellation of allocations declared as illegal by the apex court and was also not insisting on any particular course of action. The ministry placed before it the gist of information about mining lease, commencement of production and linked End-Use Production (EUP) investment received from allocatees of these 40 productional coal mines and six on verge of production. Out of 40 functional mines, two are allocated to an Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP), which has not been declared as illegal by August 25 judgement, it said.