SC rejects request to protect 46 coal blocks from cancellation

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 13, 2014 02:59 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday turned down Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association’s (SIMA) request to consider its proposal to safeguard investments in case the court cancelled allocations of 218 coal blocks, declared illegal by it on August 25.

A bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha declined to accept the written proposal brought by SIMA in which its members agreed to pay a sum or Rs 295 per metric tonne as suggested by the Centre, for exemption of 46 blocks that were mining or about to start operations, to save the allocation of all the mines.

Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned the matter before the bench, but failed to convince it to take the proposal on board. Appearing for a captive user, senior advocate Dushyant Dave also urged the court to consider the proposal.

SC had on September 9 reserved its verdict on the future of the 218 blocks, after all the stake holders put forth their arguments. Contending the natural consequence of the judgment was cancellation of all the blocks, SIMA sought protection for the 46 blocks. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had said in court previously that if the blocks were cancelled, they would be auctioned.

Coal Producers’ Association, SIMA and power-producing companies opposed the Centre’s contention, demanding constitution of a committee that could hear each allottee before suggesting a future course of action. They even contested the Centre’s advice to penalise the 46 at the cost of Rs 295 per tonne, saying they had done no wrong.

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