SC remarks on coal allocation could end privilege of PSUs
If the Centre accepts the court’s view that the extant law doesn’t allow it to allocate coal blocks, it would flow from that the 2010 amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, ( MMDR Act) empowering itself to conduct auctions of captive coal blocks — through insertion of Section 11A — and reserve coal blocks for allocation to PSUs on a nomination basis are not legally valid either. Even in the MMDR Bill that seeks to make comprehensive changes in the Act (the Bill is now before the parliamentary panel concerned), the Centre proposes to retain the 2010 amendment, while the overall tone of the Bill is towards reinforcing the states’ prerogative in regulation and development of minerals other than coal and atomic minerals. The Bill not only seeks to retain the states’ status as licensing and leasing authorities but also proposes to amplify it by doing away with the need for prior approval of the Centre for states to issue licences, except in case
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