The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Central and State Governments on a public interest litigation filed against the permission for mining in dense forests and environmentally sensitive areas of the country. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde sought response from the Center and Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Telangana and asked the case to be heard in January.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court on Monday took cognizance of the claim of the Jharkhand government that after the closure of the mining work, the lease holders of the mine are not complying with the order to re-hay the mining area. The apex court warned of contempt action against the authorities concerned for this.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian told the Center that coal mines for commercial mining in Jharkhand would not be excavated without the apex court’s permission after e-auction. The apex court also said that it can take action against the authorities concerned if the instructions of the court are not followed. The bench said that excavation will not be started for mining in Jharkhand without our permission.
The apex court took cognizance of the fact that the grass is completely decimated during the mining operation, and on 8 January directed the government to place a condition on the lease holders of the mines that they should stop mining operations in the mine. In the quarry area, grass will have to be planted again.
The court passed the order on another petition against large-scale illegal mining in many parts of the country. The court had asked the Center to find an appropriate way to comply with this condition.
During the hearing on Monday through video conference, Advocate Tapesh Kumar Singh, on behalf of the Government of Jharkhand, told the bench that its instructions to re-plant grass in the quarry area are not being complied with.
To this, the bench said that the Attorney General, if our order is not complied with, we can take contempt action against the people concerned. We want our order to be strictly followed. It is necessary to re-grass to graze the cattle. The court asked Singh to provide details in this regard to the Attorney General so that he could look into it.
The bench was hearing a state government petition on the issue of e-auction of coal mines for commercial mining in Jharkhand. The bench said that the matter will be heard in January. Senior advocate Fali S. Nariman, appearing for Jharkhand Sircar, said that since the matter is listed in January, an independent authority can inspect the sites concerned.