SC declares all coal allocations between 1993-2010 illegal
The Supreme Court of India, has given a new turn to the infamous coalgate scam which surfaced during the UPA tenure and involved some of the ministers of the then ruling government too. The Court has declared all coal block allocations done in the pre-auction era, between the years 1993-2010 as illegal as they were done in a non-transparent manner by the successive governments.
The Coal fields during the said span were allotted without following the due auction process which has cost the exchequer a hefty sum of Rs. 1.76 trillion.
A bench of three judges, CJI R.M. Lodha, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph have rested their ruling on premise of “ vice of arbitrariness” and lack of transparency. SC has taken action on the writ petitions filed notably by Manohar Lal Sharma and Prashant Bhushan.
India is one of the largest producer and consumer of coal in the world. 20% coal production of India comes from disputed coal fields. Orissa, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh are coal-rich regions which are further divided into mining-blocks which have to be auctioned/ leased to the companies.
Coalgate was a major scam which had significantly contributed to the fall of goodwill of UPA government and ex-PM Manmohan Singh in particular as he was the considered as the man of no words despite the rampant corruption which was seen in his government.
The recent ruling also puts under scan the BJP-led coal block allocations and will thus be a major test for both the parties. The Court will now decide on cancellation of approximately 218 licences. The next hearing is on September 1, 2014.
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