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SC reserves order on coal blocks

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its final order on whether 218 illegal coal block allocations should be axed.

A packed courtroom of Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha saw the affected coal miners and power producers cry “injustice.” They demanded that a new committee be set up to hear each of the 218 coal block owners before contemplating cancellation.

“Natural justice has to be followed. Re-auction will cause serious problems. Cancellation will affect the nation as a whole. Why should we, innocent victims, be subjected to great deprivation,” asked senior advocate K.K. Venugopal appearing for the coal miners’ association.

He said the cancellation of allocations would ultimately affect the man on the streets.

“The government of the day misled us. The government concealed more than they revealed,” said senior advocate Harish Salve appearing for power producers and sponge iron manufacturers.

The Bench, including Justices Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph, was considering the consequences of its August 25 judgment declaring illegal the allocation of 218 coal blocks between 1993 and 2011.

A government affidavit, filed on Monday, left it to the court’s discretion to do what it thought best as per law.

The affidavit said if the allocations were cancelled, the blocks would be re-auctioned in a transparent manner. The affidavit, however, stated that 40 of the 218 blocks were operational and another six were ready to be functional.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 9:51:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-reserves-verdict-on-coal-blocks/article6394410.ece

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