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SC reserves order on fate of 218 illegal coal blocks

The government at the hearing on September 1, left it to the apex court to decide the fate of these coal blocks, held as illegal by it, while stating that about 40 blocks are operational and another six are ready to produce 50 million tonnes coal in the current year.

The Supreme Court has reserved its order in the coal block allocation case and has also refrained from giving any specific date to pass the order. The apex court heard the final arguments today to determine the fate of 218 coal blocks awarded since 1993 which it has termed as “illegal” and “unconstitutional.”

The apex court heard the final arguments today to determine the fate of 218 coal blocks awarded since 1993 which it has termed as “illegal” and “unconstitutional “.

Power and coal producers asked the court to set up a judicial committee to review the coal blocks on a case-by-case basis before scrapping them. But the government is opposed to this idea as it will lead to further delay.

Coal and power minister Piyush Goyal said just two days back that the government wants closure and not any further delays.

While there isn’t much clarity on the issue of when the order might come, but it would be at the same time. September 27 will be an important date as that is when Chief Justice Lodha will be retiring.

The government also made its case to save 40 out of these 218 blocks that are currently operational. Power and coal producers asked the court to set up a Judicial Committee to review the coal blocks on a case-by-case basis before scrapping them, but the apex court is not in favour of doing the same. The court said it does not want to go through the long drawn process of appointing a judicial panel.

The government at the hearing on September 1, left it to the apex court to decide the fate of these coal blocks, held as illegal by it, while stating that about 40 blocks are operational and another six are ready to produce 50 million tonnes coal in the current year.

The affidavit filed by the Ministry of Coal incorporated the statements made by the Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi on September 1 that the Centre has “no objection” to the cancellation of allocations declared as illegal by the apex court and was also not insisting on any particular course of action.

The ministry placed before it the gist of information about mining lease, commencement of production and linked End-Use Production (EUP) investment received from allocatees of these 40 productional coal mines and six on verge of production. Out of 40 functional mines, two are allocated to an Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP), which has not been declared as illegal by August 25 judgement, it said.

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