Chhattisgarh HC dismisses petitions challenging land acquisition of Parsa mining
RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh high court on Wednesday dismissed five petitions challenging the land acquisition of the Parsa coal block, which was allocated to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (RRVUNL) for mining.
A division bench of chief justice Arup Kumar Goswami and justice Rajendra Chauhan Singh Samant dismissed the petitions filed by the villagers of Janardanpur , Tara, Fatehpur, Ghatbaraa, Hariharpur and Salhi villages which come under two districts—Surajpur and Surguja.
The land for the Parsa coal mining project is being acquired under the provisions of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition & Development) Act, 1957.
“We are of the opinion that apart from gross delay in approaching the court, there being no merit in these petitions, the petitions deserve to be dismissed and accordingly, the same are dismissed,” the court said.
However, one of the advocates of the villagers, Sudeip Shrivastva said that they will approach the Supreme Court in the coming days.
“I have not read the order till now. After reading the order we will decide our next step but we will surely file an appeal with the Supreme Court for justice,” said Shrivastava.
The high court order further said that there is no explanation for the delay in approaching the court.
“Under Section 8 (1) of the Coal Bearing Act, any person could object within 30 days of issue of the notification under Section 7(1). Though the Gazette notification under amended Section 7(1) was published on 27.12.2017, Competent Authority computed 30 days from the date of publication of the Gazette Notification in two newspapers on 16.01.2018 and accordingly, last date for lodging objection was fixed on 15.02.2018. No objection was received in that period, though; some objections came to be filed by some villagers on 26.02.2018, which was received on 06.03.2018. The villagers who had raised objection on 06.03.2018 pursuant to the notification issued under Section 7(1) of the CB Act have not approached this Court, though more than four years have elapsed in the meantime… In the circumstances of the case, there is no acceptable explanation for the delay in approaching this Court,” the order said.
It is worth mentioning that the final approval by the Chhattisgarh government for 841.538 hectares of forest land for the Parsa Mining Project was granted on April 6, 2022. Chhattisgarh’s Forest and Climate Change Department granted approval for mining with 15 conditions, which is mentioned in the approval order.
The court further ruled out the argument that there was any suppression of fact in the matter.
“Issues raised before the National Green Tribunal (NGT)are also touched upon in these petitions. Therefore, we will not proceed to consider the aforesaid aspects of the matter and will confine our deliberations to the validity of the land acquisition process which the learned counsel for the petitioners had categorically submitted is the issue involved in the present writ petitions. On due consideration, we are not inclined to hold that there was deliberate suppression of material facts with regard to pending litigation before the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the NGT as contended by the learned counsel for the respondents,” the order said.