New Delhi [India]: The Supreme Court on Monday expressed its displeasure at some companies continuing illegal mining of minerals in Odisha without obtaining forest clearance (FCs) from authorities under the garb of “status quo” orders.
A vacation Bench of Justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose asked the Orissa High Court to dispose of these matters in six months.
The top court took strong note that the mining companies, which have not been granted FCs by the Centre and other authorities, are continuing with the “illegal excavation” of minerals on grounds that the High Court has passed the status quo orders with regard to the dispute.
It was hearing the appeal of M/s Balasore Alloys Limited of Odisha challenging the High Court order by which it had refused to continue with the status quo order favouring the firm.
The apex court while hearing the matter observed, “Anything which has been excavated without the forest clearance is illegal. You cannot be permitted to continue with the excavation or extraction of minerals without the forest clearance. It is unfortunate that High Courts are passing such orders of status quo and permitting continuance of mining work.”
In its order, the Bench said, “It is not in dispute that the petitioner is not having the forest clearance at this stage. Merely because the application for forest clearance is pending cannot be treated as having obtained the forest clearance permitting the petitioner to carry on the mining activities.”
It allowed the petitioner to withdraw its plea from the Supreme Court and directed the Orissa High Court to decide and dispose of all such pending matters, where the order of status quo is continuing for a long period of time and the mining activities have been continued under the order of status quo, within a period of six months from today without fail. (ANI)