Meghalaya govt. fined by SC for failing to curb illegal mining

Must Read

Bombay High Court Allows Petition Seeking Lawyers and Legal Clerks To Travel in Local Trains

The present hearing arose out of a batch of Public Interest Litigations that was filed in the Bombay High...

Provisions for Retirement of Teachers Must Be Read With the Larger Interest of Students in Mind: Supreme Court

Supreme Court in Navin Chandra Dhoundiyal v State of Uttarakhand reinstated the appellants to their position as Professor on...

Parties Cannot Deny Specific Performance Merely Due To Delay: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, in Ferrodous Estate v P Gopirathnam, revisited the law on the specific performance of a contract....

Chandigarh Housing Board Is Bound To Implement the Chandigarh Administration’s Policy Decision: Punjab & Haryana High Court

On 15th October 2020, Justices Jaswant Singh and Sant Parkash heard the case of Bhartendu Sood vs Chandigarh Housing Board...

Bombay High Court Refuses Interim Relief to Doctors Alleging Arbitrary Placement at Government Hospitals for One-Year Mandatory Public Service

The Bombay High Court was hearing a plea against the arbitrary placement of doctors for a mandatory period of...

Uttarakhand High Court Dismisses Writ Petition Seeking Relief for the Cancellation of Selection Process

On 13th October 2020, a Single Judge Bench of Hon'ble Justice Lok Pal Singh, heard the case of Ashish...

Follow us

Supreme Court on July 3, 2019 decision ruled that Meghalaya state government should pay Rs. 100 crore Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the restoration of the environment after allowing illegal coal mining in tribal areas of the state.

Facts of the case

Illegal mining has been a major concern for the Meghalaya government. Last year on December 13, an illegal mining operation in East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya lead to the deaths of 15 miners who were trapped underground inside the tunnels when water from nearby Lytein river flowed in claiming their lives. Since then, only two dead bodies have been retrieved making the whole tragic situation even worse with family members waiting for the return of their loved ones’ bodies.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had taken an unusually hard-line approach after such incidents which was reflected in its January 4 judgment whereby NGT ordered Meghalaya state government to pay CPCB Rs. 100 crores for failing to curb illegal mining operations. Meghalaya government appealed to the Supreme Court against this ruling claiming that paying such a huge amount would likely cause many hardships for the government as their state budget is not big enough to compensate such losses.

Court ruling

A Division Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan and K M Joseph heard the instant case while deciding on many such appeals arising from NGT rulings. Apex Court declared, “State is always at liberty to obtain appropriate directions if aggrieved by any act of the committee” while deciding the jurisdiction of NGT. The top court held that NGT under the auspices of Rule 24 of National Green Tribunal (Practice and Procedure) Rules, 2011 has the authority to issue such fines and can also direct the setting up of a committee to decide on the transportation of the illegally mined coal at the mine site. The Court said, “NGT by directing for the constitution of the committee has not delegated essential judicial functions. The Tribunal had kept complete control on all steps which were required to be taken by the committees and has issued directions from time to time.”

Supreme Court acknowledged the state government’s problems and hence ordered Meghalaya government to transfer funds from Meghalaya Environment Protection and Restoration Fund (MEPRF) to CPCB to the tune of Rs. 100 crores so that state government may not be unduly burdened by any ‘hardships’ as claimed and yet the amount is also paid. CPCB can then utilise that amount in restoring the damages done through illegal mining operations. Apex Court stated, “Natural resources of the country are not meant to be consumed only by the present generation of men or women of the region where natural resources are deposited. These treasures of nature are for all generations to come and for intelligent use of the entire country.”

The top court in later parts of its judgment ruled that the Meghalaya state government should hand over all the illegally mined coals in its custody to Coal India Limited (CIL) as per the order issued by NGT. CIL then in consultation with Katakey Committee, set up as per NGT ruling should auction off the coals and handover the proceedings to the Meghalaya state government. The Apex Court advised that the state government should proceed with all the seized coals of illegal mining in accordance with Section 21 of the 1957 Act.

Impact of the judgment

This judgment is considered to have a positive impact on protecting the lives of poor miners as well as safeguarding the nation’s resources. As the Apex Court has rightly held that our natural resources are not ours to squander away as we owe our next generation a clean and healthy environment, so we should strive to protect our nation’s resources from the greed of unscrupulous officials encouraging unregulated mining operations. NGT had in its previous ruling suggested that the amount imposed on Meghalaya government as a punitive measure could be recovered by the state government from these unscrupulous people and it would serve as an effective deterrent in curbing illegal mining.

Supreme Court in its judgments had always championed the cause of poor and downtrodden populace of our country by protecting their rights and fighting for their safety. All the pioneering verdicts from the Apex Court in the last few decades have been found to favour the common man by bringing justice to the needy. This verdict like the few others are the laudable efforts of the top court in a country recently embroiled with a host of geopolitical challenges, financial woes and crumbling social mores.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

Bombay High Court Allows Petition Seeking Lawyers and Legal Clerks To Travel in Local Trains

The present hearing arose out of a batch of Public Interest Litigations that was filed in the Bombay High Court to permit the members...

Provisions for Retirement of Teachers Must Be Read With the Larger Interest of Students in Mind: Supreme Court

Supreme Court in Navin Chandra Dhoundiyal v State of Uttarakhand reinstated the appellants to their position as Professor on basis of re-employment till the...

Parties Cannot Deny Specific Performance Merely Due To Delay: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, in Ferrodous Estate v P Gopirathnam, revisited the law on the specific performance of a contract. It reiterated that mere delay...

Chandigarh Housing Board Is Bound To Implement the Chandigarh Administration’s Policy Decision: Punjab & Haryana High Court

On 15th October 2020, Justices Jaswant Singh and Sant Parkash heard the case of Bhartendu Sood vs Chandigarh Housing Board & Anr., via video-conferencing. Deeming the...

Bombay High Court Refuses Interim Relief to Doctors Alleging Arbitrary Placement at Government Hospitals for One-Year Mandatory Public Service

The Bombay High Court was hearing a plea against the arbitrary placement of doctors for a mandatory period of one year. The petitioners prayed...

Uttarakhand High Court Dismisses Writ Petition Seeking Relief for the Cancellation of Selection Process

On 13th October 2020, a Single Judge Bench of Hon'ble Justice Lok Pal Singh, heard the case of Ashish Bisht & Anr. v. State...

Madras High Court Dismisses Writ Petition Against National Stock Exchange For Lack Of Merit

In the case of A. Kumar v. Financial Intelligence Unit & Ors., A. Kumar filed a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution...

The Federal Appeals Court Holds Trump’s Diversion of Military Funds To Build the Wall To Be Unlawful

The Federal Appeals Court held that US President Donald Trump’s diversion of military funds to build the wall is unlawful. A grey area in the...

Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal Filed Challenging the Judgment of Madras High Court in Ganesan v. State Represented by Its Inspector of Police

An appeal was filed before the Supreme court, challenging the judgment & order of Madras High Court. The Supreme Court upheld the HC judgment...

Bombay High Court Refuses Interim Relief to Doctors Alleging Arbitrary Placement at Government Hospitals for One-Year Mandatory Public Service

The Bombay High Court was hearing a plea against the arbitrary placement of doctors for a mandatory period of one year. The petitioners prayed...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -