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‘Court not to examine legality of mining ban’

The Supreme Court on Thursday appeared reluctant in passing orders that could effect a ban on mining in the eco-fragile Aravalli zone in Faridabad and Gurgaon.

Written by Tannu Sharma | New Delhi |
March 20, 2009 12:25:43 am

The Supreme Court on Thursday appeared reluctant in passing orders that could effect a ban on mining in the eco-fragile Aravalli zone in Faridabad and Gurgaon. It observed: “Whatever statutory action has to be taken is to be by the state or the Centre. The court has nothing to do with it.”

In response to amicus curiae Ranjeet Kumar’s submissions,the three-member special bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan remarked: “You are on a sticky wicket as the recommendations of the Central Empowered Committee now have the concurrence of the state government. It’s only the follow-up action which has to be taken by you (state administration).”

The remarks came even as both the amicus and another advocate A D N Rao insisted the court examine the recommendations of the court-appointed environment panel,the Central Empowered Committee,and pass directions towards banning mining in the area.

The ‘green’ bench,also comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia,however,gave strong indications that the responsibility to deal with the violators of ban on mining lay with the state or the central government. “We are not going to suggest the modalities but it’s for the authorities concerned to take action,whatever it deems fit,” remarked Justice Pasayat.

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Justice Kapadia added: “The court is not examining whether the ban,if to be imposed,is legal. Ultimately,it’s your recommendation which is based on the fact that there has been a complete devastation of the environment.”

“…if devastation has been a reality,to which even the state has agreed,there’s no question of the court examining it,” reiterated the bench.

Citing the provisions of the Environment Protection Act and the extensive damages caused to the ecology,Rao contended: “We do not want it to be left at the discretion of anybody or the whims or fancies of any authority. If nobody has checked from 2004 to 2009,how can it be controlled now? …it is for this court to come to the aid of the environment and the people at large.”

The court replied: “We are not leaving it to the state and are not even vacating our earlier order. But since the stage has not come when the Centre or the state has taken some decision or imposed a total ban,there’s no occasion for this court to examine it.”

The hearing will resume on Friday.

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