Uncertainty over mining case coming up before SC today
The Goa Foundation PIL which resulted in suspension of all mining operations in Goa is listed before the Forest Bench of the Supreme Court for Friday, but it may or may not come up as six other cases are listed before it for consideration by the Bench that meets only in the post-lunch session from 2 pm.
The petition was filed in the wake of Justice M B Shah Commission report on illegal mining in Goa, which exposed projected illegalities amounting to Rs 35,000 crore.
The Goa government, after almost five months, filed its affidavit in the Court on February 9, praying that the Apex Court vacate its order banning mining activities.
Director of Mines Prasanna Acharya has left for Delhi to attend the hearing.
Four of the six petitions on the list relate to the 1995 writ petition of T N Godavarman Thirumulpad on the buffer zone around the reserved forests and sanctuary while the two other cases are related to the Udaipur Mineral Development Syndicate Ltd.
The Bench is headed by Justice Aftab Alam with two other judges Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Ranjan Gogoi. The mining case may come up if the other cases collapse or are adjourned on requests by the concerned lawyers or else it will get passed over to next Friday.
Crucial for Goa is the State Government's affidavit filed last Saturday urging the Apex Court to dismiss the petition and remove the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) off its back to let the probe be conducted by a Commission headed by retired High Court Judge R M S Khandeparkar with option for the Court to monitor it or even appoint another judge in place of Justice Khandeparkar.
The thrust of the affidavit is that all mining irregularities were committed during the previous Congress-led government’s tenure and that all of them are being plugged by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar since coming to power to ensure that only legal mining of the iron ore takes place in the state.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Subhash Shirodkar along with former MLA, Jitendra Deshprabhu and former minister, Joaquim Alemao’s names has been mentioned in the affidavit with the government alleging that they were possibly involved and promises further investigation and possible action. [H]