2 Goan mining firms move HC against Shah panel report


Even as the Supreme Court of India is seized with the matter of illegal mining in the state, two Goan mining firms, M/s Pandurang Timblo Industries and Sociedade Timblo Irmao Limitade, have filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court at Goa praying that the Justice M B Shah Commission report dated March 15, 2012 be declared illegal and void.
The petition filed by the Goan mining firms have also prayed for issuance of writ of certiorari or a writ in the nature of certiorari or any other appropriate writ, direction or order under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, calling for the record of the case, and on considering the same, quashing and setting aside the report of the Shah Commission.
The petitioners have also prayed that pending hearing and final disposal of the petition, the operation of orders dated September 10, 2012 issued by the government of Goa and September 14, 2012 issued by the Union ministry of environment and forests be stayed and ex-parte ad-interim relief be given to them. The matter has been posted for hearing on Monday.
The prayers by the petitioners before the High Court also include for a writ of mandamus or a writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction commanding the Union of India, ministry of environment and forests, to forthwith withdraw/revoke its order dated September 14, 2012 and stay the operation of the impugned report of March 15, 2012 of the Shah Commission against them.
The petitioners have challenged the report of the Shah Commission on the ground that the notification appointing the Commission was vague and did not refer to or include the state of Goa within the scope of eh commission and that the reference to the commission was contrary to the judgment of the apex court in case of Ram Krishna Dalmia.
It has been stated before the High Court that action of commission in adversely commenting and returning findings against them has prejudicially affected their reputation without affording any opportunity of hearing or to produce evidence in their defence was contrary to the statutory mandate under section 8B of the 1952 Act.
It has also been stated that the action of the state government in issuing the notice dated September 10, 2012 was clearly based on the erroneous findings of the commission’s report which have been returned in violation of Section 8B of the 1952 Act and therefore was also non est and deserved to be quashed on the ground that the very basis on which it was issued was contrary to law.
The petitioner have also stated that the action of the ministry of environment and forests in keeping in abeyance the environment clearances granted to M/s Pandurang Timblo Industries also deserved to be quashed as it was based on the findings rendered in the commission’s report without following the process of law.
The petition by the Goan mining firms also states that they have been deprived of the opportunity to dispel the false notion that illegal mining was being carried out by them. It has also been submitted that the findings in report under chapter 3 were beyond the terms of reference.
The petitioners have also stated that the matter was already before the Supreme Court of India and that in view of the interim order of the apex court, the petitioners were not presently seeking interim relief and crave leave to file such application for interim relief at a later date or once the interim order was vacated or modified.
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