SC slaps 100% penalty on illegal miners in Odisha

New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday upheld the Rs 60,000 crore fine imposed by the state government on mining companies, which were operating without necessary clearances in Odisha between 2000 and 2010.
The two-member bench, comprising Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta, ruled that the mining companies indicted by the MB Shah Commission and served notice by Odisha government will have to deposit 100 per cent penalty by December 31.
Notably, the Central Empowered Committee had asked for imposition of 30 per cent of the fine.
Besides, the bench asked the chief secretary of Odisha to file an affidavit in this regard in next six weeks. The Union government has been directed to review the National Mineral Policy, 2008, and complete the exercise by December-end.
The companies, however, can carry on with mining operations after paying the penalty, the court said while rejecting the pleas for restarting the mines that had their licences cancelled.
The court’s direction came on the basis of a PIL filed by the watchdog group Common Cause, which demanded action against lessees indicted by the Commission on illegal mining for violating the law.
The bench, however, refrained from ordering a CBI inquiry into the mining scam in Odisha and instead suggested formation of an exert committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to look into the factors that made rampant illegal mining possible.
“We had imposed a fine on the excess production of minerals for mining beyond approved limit. Even though the court has ordered for 100 per cent fine, we have to examine the judgment copy. We will take legal opinion on it,” Mines Director Deepak Mohanty told a news channel.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.