The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgment on the Centre’s plea on the auction of a coal block (Ardhagram coal mine) attached to an operational steel plant in West Bengal.
The Centre has challenged a Calcutta High Court’s order that directed it to disclose the pending litigation in relation to the mine in the coal auction notice. The HC had also ordered that the auction conducted by the government in respect of the Ardhagram coal block will be subject to the result of a petition filed by Sova Ispat (SIL) before it.
Expressing concern regarding the fate of the auctions if all companies started to challenge the ordinance and the auction process, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said that it could lead to an energy crisis in the country as nobody would be willing to acquire these mines which were subject to litigation.
The AG further clarified before a bench headed by justice J Chelameswar that the government was not acquiring the end-use factories from companies. It was only acquiring the mine and related infrastructure. He stated that the end-use plants would not be auctioned.
The petition, filed jointly by the ministries of coal and law, said that if the auction notice were to contain endorsement that the matter is sub-judice, it would hamper the auction process and make it unworkable.