New Delhi: The Centre was on Monday asked by the Delhi High Court to respond to a plea of a body of mine operators seeking quashing of inquiry proceedings undertaken by Justice M B Shah Commission into alleged illegal mining of iron and manganese ores in Odisha.
Besides the Ministry of Mines, Justice Rajiv Shakdher also issued notices to the Commission of Inquiry and Odisha government on the plea of Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) alleging that the inquiry has been carried out in an "arbitrary and whimsical manner and without the authority of law."
The court, which has fixed the matter for hearing on July 26, however asked the FIMI to argue on the point of jurisdiction as the case relates to mining in Odisha.
"Why this court ought to entertain this plea when the substantial cause of action arose in Odisha which is outside the jurisdiction of this court," the bench said.
The Ministry of Mines, had in November, 2010, appointed the Justice M B Shah Commission to go into allegations of illegal mining of iron and manganese ores in Odisha and Goa.
The miners` body, which has 320 members including firms like SAIL, BALCO and NALCO, has sought quashing of the inquiry proceedings alleging that it has not been following the Commission of Inquiry Act.
"It is submitted that the notification dated November 22, 2010 issued by respondent no.1 (Centre) appointing Respondent no.2 (the Commission) refers to various reports citing illegal mining... However, none of the said reports has been made available to either the petitioner (FIMI) or its members," the petition said.