In a setback to the Haryana government, the Punjab and Haryana high court has restrained the state from proceeding further with the grant of mining rights in the state for the areas measuring 4.5 hectares until environmental clearance is not granted by central government.
The directions came from the division bench comprising acting chief justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and justice Ajay Kumar Mittal while disposing of a public interest litigation filed by one Sandeep Sangwan of Karnal district.
The petitioner had sought quashing of auction notice issued on June 3, issued by the director, Mines and Geology, Haryana for auction of minor mineral quarries not exceeding 4.5 hectares in each case for extraction of boulder, gravel and sand for nine months.
As per the notification the state had put to auction the minor mineral quarries of district Panchkula, Ambala, Yamuna Nagar, Kurukshetra, Ambala, Karnal and Faridabad.
The petitioner had challenged the notices on the ground that the proposed mining was in violation of notification issued by the central government on September 9, 2006 requiring prior environmental clearance and also in violation of judgment of the high court dated May 15, 2009 in a case Vijay Bansal and others vs state of Haryana and others. It was further submitted that to circumvent the central government notification and judgment of the high court, the area of quarries in notices was restricted to 4.5 hectares but location of plots being contiguous to each other, the area covered was far beyond 50 hectares.
"The state will be at liberty to resubmit its application and the application so made shall be dealt with by the concerned authorities as per direction already issued in Vijay Bansal's (case), with further clarification that the state of Haryana will be at liberty to follow such modified procedure as may be permitted by the concerned authorities (central government) specified in the notification dated September 9, 2006," directed the bench.