Supreme Court declares all coal block allocations from 1993 to 2010 illegal
The Supreme Court, in its major verdict given on Monday declared all coal block allocations from 1993 onwards illegal, giving the reason that these were done in an unfair, arbitrary and non-transparent manner which was against the public interest and were devoid of any procedure.
The cola block allocations were allowed by the apex court to ultra mega power projects to continue but barred them from using the coal for any purpose, read commercial exploitation, other than captive consumption.
A special bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha, however said that further hearing was required to ascertain whether the cancellation of 200 coal blocks is required or not.
The apex court slammed the allocations of coal blocks saying that the allocations were made in a casual manner without doing any comparitive assessment of the applicants.
Regarding the 12 Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) for which coal blocks were allocated through competitive bidding , the SC said that the companies involved can extract coal from these blocks only for the power projects these were meant for and not for other commercial purposes. This was done in the context of allegations that in some cases the government had allowed diversion of coal from UMPP to other end uses.
The order came on the petitions filed by an NGO, Common Cause, and a lawyer, ML Sharma, seeking cancellation of coal block allocations over allocations of large scale corruption and favouritism.
September 1 has been decided as the future hearing date to decide as to what action is to be taken against the illegal coal block allocations, most of which were made by the Manmohan Singh government.
No doubt, the SC judgement puts huge burden on coal scam case accused as they would now find it difficult to say no wrong was committed in allocation of coal block.