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Supreme Court terms all coal block allocations since 1993 illegal

August 25
03:32 2014

Supreme Court terms all coal block allocations since 1993 illegalNEW DELHI: 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 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has alleged that mining licenses were given arbitrarily to private companies close to the ruling party for several years, without a transparent bidding process.

A special bench headed by Chief Justice 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 Rs. 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.-Agencies

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