Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed the pleas of some private companies challenging the decision of the Ministry of Coal to club all sectors, barring power, under a single category for coal block auctions.
“The writ petitions are dismissed,” a bench of justices B D Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said.
The decision comes after almost 18 months when it was reserved on April 13, 2015 on the pleas of four companies –Utkal Coal Ltd, Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd, Jayaswal Neco Industries Ltd and Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd.
The companies had earlier contended that due to “wrong” classification, core sectors like iron and steel, which are to be protected as per 2014 coal ordinance, were losing out to aluminium companies in the auction.
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They had argued that the government’s decision to club all end-uses, except power, under ‘non-regulated sector’ has led to a “skewed” bidding process in which unequals were competing with each other for mines.
They had also said that ‘non-regulated sector’ was not a specified end-use under the ordinance.
On the other hand, Hindalco, which successfully bid for and won the Gare Palma IV/5 mine in Chhattisgarh for which Monnet was vying, had said the companies were seeking “reservation” in the allocation of coal blocks.
It had also said that as the vesting order for the mine has already been passed in its favour, its position should not be disturbed.