Stung by the Supreme Court’s statement that huge investments made in coal blocks cannot be a ground for not cancelling licenses, the CII on Thursday said coal mine allottees should not be penalised if actions taken by them for getting clearances have not yielded the desired results.

“The parties to whom coal blocks have been allocated can only initiate action for getting clearances. If allottees have taken action and clearances have still not been given, then responsibility lies with the Central and State Governments,” CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.

“If action has not been initiated, then only the fault will be with the allottees,” he said.

The Supreme Court yesterday said huge investment made by companies in coal blocks without getting clearance cannot be a ground for not cancelling licences and asked the Centre to respond whether it intends to de—allocate such allocations.

A three—judge bench headed by Justice R L Lodha said the companies which invested money on blocks without getting all clearances took the decision at their own risk.

“They (companies) must suffer consequences no matter how much investment has been made by them. The alleged illegality cannot be compounded,” the bench said when the Attorney General contended that around Rs two lakh crore has been invested in such blocks and it will be difficult to cancel the licence for want of clearances.

“All such investments would go in drain and it cannot be a defence and no law would help them,” the bench said.

The apex court said any investment made in anticipation of clearances cannot be justified and such blocks cannot be protected if the companies fail to get clearances within a time frame fixed under the law. PTI RSN ANZ KSR 01091726