Iron ore pellets export: SC notice to Centre on PIL

SC notice to Centre on PIL alleging duty evasion on export of iron ore pellets

30% export duty has been imposed to discourage the iron ore export

Representative Image. Credit: iStock Photo

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre on a PIL alleging export of iron ore in pellet form by some private firms while evading duty. 

A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli asked the Union government to file its response within four weeks to the plea by NGO ‘Common Cause'.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, referred to the apex court judgements on mining and export of iron, saying that even a Parliamentary committee has said that export of iron ore should not be permitted at the cost of domestic companies.

Though 30% export duty has been imposed to discourage the iron ore export, still ore was being exported in pellet form without paying the levy, he said.

During the hearing, lawyer M L Sharma, who had filed the PIL on the same issue, interjected as a caveator, alleging that the NGO being represented by Bhushan has “stolen” content of his plea and the matter should not be entertained.

“Your (Sharma) petition is already there. Notice has been issued on that. Does it stop Bhushan from filing another case... We are allowing his petition and it does not mean that we are disallowing your plea,” the bench said. 

“Why we respect you in that you expose things for good causes. But others are also entitled to file PILs. He (Bhushan) is filing this petition which will support your cause also," the CJI told Sharma.

In January this year, the top court had issued notice to the Centre and 61 iron exporting firms on Sharma's PIL seeking a direction to the CBI to register an FIR and probe the alleged duty evasion by them in exporting iron ore to China since 2015. 

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