SC asks government to file Justice Shah's illegal mining report

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday directed the central government to file before it the report of Justice (retd.) M.B.Shah on illegal mining in Odisha and Jharkhand by Jan 27.

The green bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik, Justice S.S.Nijjar and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla sought copies of Justice Shah's report on illegal mining be placed before it on an application in the matter arising from the hearing of a plea by NGO Goa Foundation and Samaj Parivartan Samudaya.

The court order came as counsel for NGO, Prashant Bhushan - referring to media reports - said that the extent of illegal mining in the two states was shocking.

Bhushan told the court that Justice Shah Commission report has been marked top secret by the government and though it is mandatory for it to table the report in parliament within six months, it has not been done.

The application also sought the court's direction to the central government to place all the Justice Shah Commission of Inquiry reports in the public domain and on the website of the ministry of mines.

It has further sought direction to the government to extend the time period of the commission by one year in order to enable it to complete its inquiry and submit reports on mining-related issues in accordance with its terms of reference.

Alternatively, the application urged the court to direct the setting up a commission under Justice Shah to inquire into all aspects of illegal mining and other mining related issues in the country particularly in Chhatisgarh and Odisha.

The application said that since this would be a court directed commission, its reports should be submitted to the court and not to government.

The application will come up for hearing on Jan 27.