SC notice to Centre on FIMI's challenge

The top court had in September 2014 cancelled 204 coal mines allocated to different government and private companies since 1993 under the provisions of Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973. (PTI photo)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre on a plea challenging the validity of some provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, which did not provide fair and equitable compensation in a time-bound manner to the prior allottees of the coal blocks after de-allocation in 2014.

The top court had in September 2014 cancelled 204 coal mines allocated to different government and private companies since 1993 under the provisions of Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973.

On Wednesday, a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant sought a response from Ministry of Coal and Ministry of Law and Justice, within four weeks on a writ petition filed by Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI).

The industry body, represented by senior advocate Guru Krishna Kumar, challenged the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Rules, 2014.

It sought a declaration that Section 16 (1), 16 (2) of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act 2015 were arbitrary, discriminatory, vague and unconstitutional to the extent they affected the rights of the prior allottees to get just, fair and adequate compensation for the investments in their respective coal blocks in a time-bound manner.

The plea alleged that the 2015 Act deprived the prior allottees of their properties without payment of compensation.

The de-allocation of coal blocks was not the fault of prior allottees and "no criminality whatsoever" was alleged against the majority of the prior allottees.

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