It could have been done in a more refined manner, it says

The Centre on Thursday admitted before the Supreme Court that something went wrong with the coal blocks allocation and that it could have been done in a more refined manner.

“We took the decision in good faith but something turned out to be wrong,” Attorney-General Goolam E. Vahanvati told a three-judge Bench headed by Justice R.M. Lodha.

“In hindsight, we can say something has gone wrong and some correction is required to be done,” he said, virtually accepting that mistakes were committed by the government in coal blocks allocation.

Mr. Vahanvati’s response came after the Bench observed that the exercise could have been done in a “far better manner”.

“Everything could have been done in a more refined and better manner. I accept my lordship’s view,” the A-G further said.

At the outset of the day’s hearing, the Bench asked the A-G about the Centre’s stand on de-allocation of certain coal blocks. In response, Mr. Vahanvati submitted the government would make its stand clear next week.

The A-G had in September 2013 submitted that the coal blocks allocation was merely a letter of intent and did not confer any right on the companies over the natural resource, which is decided by the State government.

The mining States of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, however, had earlier told the apex court that coal blocks allocation was “entirely controlled and regulated” by the Centre.

‘PM must quit’

Special Correspondent writes:

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the wake of Mr. Vahanvati’s admission in the Supreme Court. The party claimed that it was under his watch that the Ministry of Coal made the controversial coal blocks allocation. BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said since the Centre accepted there were lapses in the allocation, the PM should accept responsibility and resign.

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