that the central government had exercised "pervasive control" in allocation of coal blocks and framed its own guidelines for it.
"The allocation of coal blocks was made by the central government from 1993 to 2012 by evolving its own mechanism by constituting a screening committee which framed its own guidelines and also followed the guidelines framed by the Ministry of Coal from time to time," the Odisha's counsel had said.
West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh had also said they were merely following the Centre's directions.
The apex court had sought responses from seven mining states-- Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal-- after it had observed that the Centre was giving "contradictory" stands on allocations.
The Centre had earlier termed allocation by it as just an exercise of identification of blocks and at the most a letter of intent given to the companies by it.
The Attorney General had in September 2013, submitted that coal blocks allocation was merely a letter of intent and does not confer any right to the companies over the natural resource which is decided by the state government.
He had contended that decision of coal block allocation to companies is only the first stage and firms get rights over coal only when they start mining for which they have to take various clearances.
The court is scrutinising coal block allocation since 1993 on three PILs seeking cancellation of blocks on the ground that rules were flouted in giving away the natural resources and that certain companies were favoured in this process.