All coal block allocations since 1993 illegal: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday said the allocation of coal blocks carried out by the screening committee post 1993 were not fair nor transparent and termed it illegal.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said all coal blocks allocated since 1993 to 2010 by the screening committee were illegal as they were not fair, transparent and suffered from vice of arbitrariness.

All coal block allocations since 1993 till 2010 before pre-auction era have been done in illegal manner, the SC said.

Criticising the terms of allocation of the coal blocks, the Supreme Court said they were done under the screening committee rule and the government dispensation suffers from illegality.

A bench comprising of Chief Justice R M Lodha said, no objective criteria was followed and guidelines were breached in the coal block allocation, adding that all allocations were done in illegal manner and that it suffers from vice of arbitrariness.

The bench, also comprising of Justice Madan B. Lokur, and Justice Kurian Joseph, however, stopped short of deallocating the coal blocks.

Further hearing is required to determine whether there is a need for cancelling 218 coal block allocations, the bench said and has fixed September 1 to decide the consequences of the illegality of the coal blocks.

The apex court there will be no diversion of coal for commercial exploitation from coal blocks in question till further orders.

The coal blocks were allotted mainly in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh to private companies.

Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has decided to file a closure report in the coal block allocation scam involving Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh after a 10-month probe with the agency stating that they could not find any evidence in this matter.

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