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Supreme Court quashes all coal block allocations since 1993, terms them illegal

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India's GVK gets approval for largest Australian coal mine
India's GVK gets approval for largest Australian coal mine

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on Monday cancelled all coal block allocations since 1993. The
court said all coal block allocations were done in an illegal manner and it suffered from ‘vice of arbitrariness’.
While pronouncing its judgment on a batch of petitions seeking quashing of 194 coal blocks allocations during
the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime, the apex court said no objective criteria was
followed and guidelines were breached in coal block allocations.
“Coal block allocation done by screening committee was not fair and transparent,” SC said.
The CentralBureau of Investigation (CBI) has alleged that mining licences were given arbitrarily to private
companies close to the ruling party for several years, without a transparent bidding process.
A special bench headed by ChiefJustice RM Lodha delivered the verdict on the two-year-old petitions that
were based on Comptroller Auditor General’s (CAG) report, estimating a loss of R 1.64 lakh crore caused due
to the arbitrary allocations.
The coal blocks allocated are in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha and Madhya
Pradesh. These were allotted to private companies between 2004 to March 2011.
The petitions alleged these blocks were given in violation of the guidelines.
The bench, also comprising justice MB Lokur and justice Kurian Joseph has been monitoring the CBI probe into
the scam and special court has been set up to exclusively deal with the prosecution of cases arising out of it in
which politicians and businessmen have been named as accused.
The apex court on September 14, 2012 had for the first time issued notice on the PIL filed by advocate ML
Sharma and later an NGO, Common Cause and other public spirited persons joined him in the matter which saw
CBI facing tough time and government getting pulled up for alleged interference in the probe.

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