Single judge's order on two quarrying companies set aside



Chennai: A division bench of the Madras High Court on Friday set aside a single judge's order granting various reliefs to PRP Exports and PRP Granites of Melur taluk.

Allowing the writ appeals by Tamil Nadu government, the division bench in Madurai quashed the order of the single judge.

After a report of the Madurai District Collector on May 19 last year alleged illegal quarrying of granites worth about Rs 16,000 crore, the government had issued order to seal the factory premises and freeze bank accounts of the companies.

Criminal and departmental proceedings were initiated under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, Explosive Substances Act, TN Prevention of Illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage of Mineral Dealers Rules, TN Mines and Minerals Concessions Rules and TN Protection of Tanks and Eviction of Encroachments Act, against the companies.

The two companies had filed writ petitions in the High Court against the government order. The petitions were allowed by the single judge on November 2 last year.

The judge had then directed authorities to permit the companies to continue quarry operations, release the bank accounts and permit the companies to carry on their business in accordance with law and certain conditions.

The Tamil Nadu government had challenged this order.

The division bench comprising Justices KN Basha and P Devadass observed that the single judge's direction would be "detrimental" to the ongoing probe in the criminal cases as well as the departmental proceedings.

It, however, said that the minor reliefs granted through the orders dated November 6, 2011 and January 8, 2013, should continue.

In the meantime, authorities should proceed with the departmental and criminal proceedings in accordance with law, the bench said.

PTI