Want to table illegal mining report in parliament first, government to SC

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) The central government has moved the Supreme Court urging it to modify its Jan 13 order so that Shah Commission report on illegal mining in Odisha and Jharkhand could be placed first before parliament before it could be submitted to the court as directed by it.

"Modify directions contained in the order dated Jan 13 and permit Union of India to first lay the report on Odisha and Jharkhand submitted by the commission before the parliament along with the ATR ... as per the statutory mandate of the Commission of Inquiry Act," the government said in its plea Friday.

It said it would then file the report before the apex court in "a sealed cover for appropriate consideration and directions".

The apex court's Green Bench of Justice A.K.Patnaik, Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla in their Jan 13, 2014 order directed that the Shah panel report be filed before it by Jan 27.

"List the applications on Jan 27. A copy of the Report will be furnished to the Central Empowered Committee," it had said.

The government has also sought the dismissal of the application by the Goa Foundation and others seeking direction to the central government to extend the tenure of Justice Shah Commission by another one year and place all its reports in the public domain and on the website of the mines ministry.

The Goa Foundation has also sought that in case, the government was reluctant to extend the tenure of the Shah Commission, then the apex court direct its continuation to probe all aspects of illegal mining and other related issues all over the country especially in Odisha and Jharkhand and its reports be submitted to the court.

Holding that the application was completely misconceived, untenable and deserved to be dismissed, the government said that the commission has already submitted six reports which are being "effectively and expeditiously examined by the central government to strengthen the legal framework and remedial measures to deal with illegal mining trade and transportation in the country"."

It contended that further extension of the tenure of the commission is "unwarranted" and thus a decision has been taken accordingly.

The government affidavit referred to an earlier decision of the apex court which said that it is for the government to take a decision either in the matter of extension of the term of the commission or such other decision as it may deem fit to take on the report.