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Total Ban On Legal Mining Will Give Rise To Illegal Mining & Cause Huge Loss To Public Exchequer: Supreme Court Modifies NGT Directives On Sand Mining

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
11 Nov 2021 9:23 AM GMT
Total Ban On Legal Mining Will Give Rise To Illegal Mining & Cause Huge Loss To Public Exchequer: Supreme Court Modifies NGT Directives On Sand Mining
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Modifying some directions issued by the National Green Tribunal, the Supreme Court observed that the total ban on legal mining, apart from giving rise to illegal mining, also causes huge loss to the public exchequer.When legal mining is banned, it gives rise to mushroom growth of illegal mining, resulting into clashes between sand mafias, criminalization and at times, loss of human ...

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Modifying some directions issued by the National Green Tribunal, the Supreme Court observed that the total ban on legal mining, apart from giving rise to illegal mining, also causes huge loss to the public exchequer.

When legal mining is banned, it gives rise to mushroom growth of illegal mining, resulting into clashes between sand mafias, criminalization and at times, loss of human lives, the court said.

The State of Bihar had approached the Supreme Court challenging an NGT order holding that unless the State Expert Appraisal Committee ("SEAC") and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority ("SEIAA") grants approval to the District Survey Report for the purpose of mining of sand, the same cannot be carried out. 

The bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai observed that the directions require modification and that until the DSRs are finalized and granted approval by SEAC and SEIAA, it is appropriate that certain necessary arrangements are permitted so that the State can continue with legal mining activities

"7. It cannot be in dispute that though the developmental activities are not stalled, the environmental issues are also required to be addressed. A balanced approach of sustainable development ensuring environmental safeguards, needs to be resorted to. At the same time, it also cannot be ignored that when legal mining is banned, it gives rise to mushroom growth of illegal mining, resulting into clashes between sand mafias, criminalization and at times, loss of human lives. It also cannot be disputed that sand is required for construction of public infrastructural projects as well as public and private construction activities. A total ban on legal mining, apart from giving rise to illegal mining, also causes huge loss to the public exchequer."

The bench, therefore, substituted the directions issued by the Tribunal with the following directions:­

(i) The exercise of preparation of DSR for the purpose of mining in the State of Bihar in all the districts shall be undertaken afresh. The draft DSRs shall be prepared by the sub­divisional committees consisting of the Sub­-Divisional Magistrate, Officers from Irrigation Department, State Pollution Control Board or Committee, Forest Department, Geological or mining officer. The same shall be prepared by undertaking site visits and also by using modern technology. The said draft DSRs shall be prepared within a  period of 6 weeks from the date of this order. After the draft DSRs are prepared, the District Magistrate of the concerned District shall forward the same for examination and evaluation by the SEAC. The same shall be examined by the SEAC within a period of 6 weeks and its report shall be forwarded to the SEIAA within the aforesaid period of 6 weeks from the receipt of it. The SEIAA will thereafter consider the grant of approval to such DSRs within a period of 6 weeks from the receipt thereon;


(ii) Needless to state that while preparing DSRs and the appraisal thereof by SEAC and SEIAA, it should be ensured that a strict adherence to the procedure and parameters laid down in the policy of January 2020 should be followed;

iii) Until further orders, we permit the State Government to carry on mining activities through Bihar State Mining Corporation for which it may employ the services of the contractors. However, while doing so, the State Government shall ensure that all environmental concerns are taken care of and no damage is caused to the environment.

The case is listed after twenty weeks.


Case name and Citation: State of Bihar vs Pawan Kumar | LL 2021 SC 635

Case no. and Date: CA 3661-­3662 OF 2020 | 10 November 2021

Coram: Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai

Counsel: Sr. Adv Atmaram Nadkarni for Appellant State, Sr. Adv P.S. Patwalia for respondent.


Click here to Read/Download Order



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