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V.V. Minerals moves SC for early disposal of beach sand mining cases

Firm complains about HC hearing through video conferencing

August 02, 2019 12:48 am | Updated 12:48 am IST - CHENNAI

Beach sand mining firm V.V. Minerals of Tirunelveli has once again rushed to the Supreme Court, complaining about the delay in disposal of a suo motu public interest litigation petition and other connected cases pending against it before the Madras High Court since 2015, virtually crippling its entire business for the last four years.

It was only on July 4 that the firm had obtained an order from the apex court for early disposal of the cases. Then, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta had requested the High Court’s Chief Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani to take steps to dispose of the entire batch “as expeditiously as the court’s business would permit.”

Subsequently, Ms. Justice Tahilramani ordered that the cases may be listed before a Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and N. Seshasayee who had been hearing the matter for some time. However, since Mr. Justice Sathyanarayanan was in Madurai Bench of the High Court at present, the batch was taken up for hearing through video conferencing on July 17.

During the hearing, Mr. Justice Seshasayee expressed that it was inconvenient for him to hear the matter through video conferencing since it was impossible to go through voluminous records that had been filed by all parties, including amicus curiae V. Suresh who had filed multiple reports before the court accusing the mining firm of having quarried thousands of tonnes of sand illegally.

Although he suggested that the hearing could be adjourned to the first week of September when Mr. Justice Sathyanarayanan would return to the principal seat of the High Court in Chennai, the mining firm did not agree for such a long adjournment. Therefore, the Bench finally decided to begin hearing the case through video conferencing from August 5.

However, in the latest petition listed before the Supreme Court on Friday, the mining firm stated that although the court on July 4 ordered for expeditious disposal of the cases, the hearing could not commence before the High Court on July 17 in a “satisfactory manner” and that the judges as well as the amicus curiae were not happy with the hearing through video conferencing.

The latest plea is expected to be listed before the CJI and Justice Gupta on Friday.

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