Mining: SC refuses to keep alive Dharam's plea

Mining: SC refuses to keep alive Dharam's plea
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ref­u­s­ed to keep alive a plea that was made by former Karnataka Chief Minister N Dharam Singh against a High Court of Karnataka order for recovery of over Rs 23 crore from him for the losses caused to exchequer in transportation of illegally-extracted iron ores.

“The petitioner is stated to be no more. The case does not survive,” a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha said and closed the special leave petition filed by the late Congress leader. Singh (80) passed away on July 27. Senior advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani, appearing for Singh, submitted that the matter should be decided by the apex court as his legal heirs could be affected by the high court’s decision of 2012.

The bench, however, told the counsel, “That is something which we cannot decide at the moment. You can move the high court as the petitioner had approached us against an interim order. In the event of high court’s order against you, the matter can be mentioned here in case the legal heirs are affected.”

The court also declined a plea by Pavani to keep alive the question of law if immunity granted to Governor is open to judicial review when he exercises his power as competent authority under the Karnataka Lokayukta Act in granting sanction of prosecution of a public servant.

Bengaluru resident
D Natesh had filed a PIL in the high court, claiming that Singh had ignored the advice given by then secretary of the Mines and Geology department. But, the then Governor Rameshwar Thakur on June 23, 2009 had held that no action was required against Singh as he had not made pecuniary gains.

The Lokayukta, in its first report on mining, had held Singh guilty of misconduct and responsible for causing losses to the exchequer by permitting transportation of 2.38 lakh tonnes of iron ore, mined and stored illegally by landowners in five districts during his tenure as chief minister.

The Governor, acting as competent authority in case of complaints against the then chief minister, had in June 2009 rejected the recommendation of the Lokayukta, which was not open to judicial review, Singh had claimed.


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