HC gives Govt one week to act on illegal mining

HC gives Govt one week to act on illegal mining

You can take action but you lack will, CJ tells State Government

HC gives Govt one week to act on illegal mining

“It has been already one month since the ban was imposed on export of iron ore. It is too long. You should tell us how long will it take. Along with it, you should tell us what have you done to prevent this,” Chief Justice J S Khehar observed while hearing a batch of petitions challenging the ban on iron ore export.

The Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice and Justice Abdul Nazeer gave a dressing down to the government on the missing of eight lakh tonnes of ore from Belekeri port. “It is not the theft of diamond. Where it can be hidden?. It is one hell of a lot of iron ore in huge quantity, which cannot be hidden and taken. Can’t you find out where it is hidden ?” the Bench questioned.

When Advocate General Ashok Harnahalli mentioned about the fabricated permits, holograms and the ongoing Lokayukta probe, Justice Khehar said, “Say you are not going to do anything about it. How can you just rely on a report and ask us to wait for six months. If the Lokayukta, a retired Supreme Court judge, can find out about the illegal mining and theft of iron ore, to say that the entire police of Karnataka cannot find this out, is just not acceptable. You can take action, but you lack the will,” he said.

The Chief Justice further said he was unable to understand the inability of the State to find the simple facts. “Get hold of people even if there is a slight suspicion. Catch hold of them at the place of mining, not when it is being loaded into the trucks,” he said.

Union govt’s role

Earlier during the hearing, the Chief Justice sought to know from Abhishek Singhvi, the Senior Counsel representing Sesagoa, as to why the Union Government cannot curb illegal mining. Singhvi replied that though the Union Government has powers to curb illegal mining, it is the State, which has to do the policing.

Senior counsel Udaya Holla recalled that the State Government in an earlier submission to a Public Interest Litigation seeking ban on export to prevent illegal mining had said that the export is essential for the economy of the country.

Sesagoa, V S Lad and others have challenged ban on iron ore export imposed by the State Government.

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