Supreme Court’s big order on Goa mining and why it is a big setback to BJP

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New Delhi | Published: February 7, 2018 1:25:31 PM

In a big jolt to the Manohar Parrikar-led Goa government, the Supreme Court on Wednesday (February 7) quashed the second renewal of 88 iron ore mining leases in Goa.

SC quashes second renewal of 88 iron ore mining leases in GoaSC quashes second renewal of 88 iron ore mining leases in Goa

In a big jolt to the Manohar Parrikar-led Goa government, the Supreme Court on Wednesday (February 7) quashed the second renewal of 88 iron ore mining leases in Goa. The apex court has asked the central government to start a fresh process of the auction for mining companies in Goa, as per ANI. The companies can carry out mining activities only until March 16, the top court added. It is worth mentioning here that the BJP government in the coastal state had renewed the licences in 2015, days before a new Mining Act was to come into force.

However, fresh leases will be issued only after the companies obtain environment clearances, as per a report by The Indian Express. The Supreme Court acted on a petition that lawyer Prashant Bhushan had filed against the state government’s order in 2015 to renew 88 mining leases. Bhushan, in his petition, had alleged that a number of the lease-holders were illegally mining iron ore.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur quashed the licences to mines and ordered the setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) to inquire into the matter and recover the penalty from the lease-holders on account of illegal mining of iron ores. Reportedly, the SIT will comprise chartered accountants as well for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of penalty to be recovered. The order also said that the state government renewed mining leases of the companies in violation of the law and the apex court’s earlier order.

The top court had earlier suspended mining in the state in October 2012 following a report submitted by the Justice MB Shah Commission, which found that millions of tonnes of iron ore were being extracted illegally.

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