SC rejects plea for fixing criminality on coal ministers

SC rejects plea for fixing criminality on coal ministers

SC rejects plea for fixing criminality on coal ministers

The Supreme Court has declined to entertain a plea seeking a direction to fix criminal liability on former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other coal ministers in the coal block allocations scam.

A three-judge bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri dismissed the plea by the petitioner, advocate M L Sharma, who sought directions for recovering market price of the coal extracted by companies under the “illegal allotment” as mandated under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. “We are not entertaining such a plea,” the bench said.

Sharma, one of the PIL petitioners on whose plea 214 coal block allocations were scrapped, pointed out that the apex court, while deciding to examine the legality of the allotment process in September, 2012, had said it would look into criminality later.

He sought orders for blacklisting of all the companies/individuals and their sister concerns, subsidiaries or companies belonging to them directly or indirectly and prohibit them from participating in further bidding, auction and allotment process in future in coal and other minerals.

The apex court had, on September 24, quashed 214 of 218 coal block allocations made under different dispensations by 36 screening committees since 1993.

The court had, in August, held that the allocations were done in ad-hoc and casual manner without proper application of mind. Sharma filed the plea for imposing criminal liabilities upon then prime minister Singh, ministers Sriprakash Jaiswal, Shibu Soren and others who held coal ministry portfolio since 1993, officers and companies, besides the criminal actions being faced by some over their fraudulent action as part of the CBI investigation.

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