Welcoming the Supreme Court judgement on coal mines issue, government on Sunday said it will request the apex court to expeditiously resolve the issues to help increase domestic availability and reduce dependence on imports.
The government is awaiting Supreme Court to deliver its final view on how the mines “illegally” allocated between 1993 and 2010 should be treated, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters here.
“The government should request the Supreme Court this way, or whatever way, decide fast…otherwise country will have to continue to import coal from abroad,” a senior government functionary said.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court held that all coal block allocations made since 1993 till 2010 before pre-auction era during previous NDA and UPA regimes have been done in an illegal manner by an “ad-hoc and casual” approach “without application of mind”.
The apex court, which examined the allocation of 218 blocks, said, “Common good and public interest have, thus, suffered heavily” as “there was no fair and transparent procedure, all resulting in unfair distribution of the national wealth.”
A bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha also held that “no State Government or public sector undertakings of the State Governments are eligible for mining coal for commercial use”.
The bench also clarified that there was no challenge laid before it for cancellation in respect of blocks where competitive bidding was held for the lowest tariff for power for Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) in accordance with the opinion given in Natural Resources Allocation Reference.
Commenting on the judgement, the official said, the good impact of the ruling will be that arbitrary allocation process would ceased to exist and would be replaced by auction method.
Later, Goyal went to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The fact that this has brought to finality and closure a dispute or problem that has been for many years … (It is) a big plus for the Indian economy. I think in fact they should have been immensely pleased that the economy can now move forward rapidly rather being cast with the shadow of uncertainty,” he said.
He said the clarity of law in policy and certainty of future are the “hallmarks of a good economy and will be liked by the investor community”, with coal sector poised for progress after being in “limbo” for long.
His remarks follow the Supreme Court ruling that all coal block allocations between 1993 and 2010 had been done in an illegal manner by an “ad-hoc and casual” approach “without application of mind”.
“I would look forward to finality in the matter of coal block allocations, which have for several years now kept the sector in limbo, and with the finality that one can expect very soon, I hope that the sector can start progressing,” he said.
“I respect the judgement of the Supreme Court and am also happy that they have set a date for further hearing,” he added.
Goyal said economy can now move forward rather been cast in shadow of uncertainty and the government is ready to act quickly post the apex court’s final order.