There is no need to scrap the controversial First Come First Served (FCFS) policy in the mining sector, the government's top law officer, Attorney General GE Vahanvati has advised the mining ministry.
The Attorney General’s opinion came in response to a reference from the ministry which wanted to know whether it could continue with the FCFS policy, which the SC had termed as “inherently flawed” in the February 2 judgment.
Vahanvati is learnt to have told the ministry that since the government has filed a review petition in the SC against its verdict on the policy, there was no hindrance in going ahead with granting the licences in the mining sector on the existing policy.
He is also understood to have advised the ministry that allocation of licences for mining was not an issue for adjudication before the top court.
Various ministries and departments have turned to the law ministry for advice on the issue of allocation of natural resources following the SC judgment, which had slammed the FCFS policy.
In a report submitted to the Group of Ministers (GoM) to tackle corruption, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, an expert committee headed by former finance secretary Ashok Chawla had recommended putting an end to this policy.
In the reference made to the SC through President Pratibha Patil, the government has asked: “Whether the only permissible method for disposal of all natural resources across all sectors and in all circumstances is by the conduct of auctions?”