SC miffed over illegal mining operations in Odisha

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today expressed displeasure over illegal mining activities by some firms, which are operating in Odisha under the garb of High Court’s “status quo” orders without obtaining forest clearance (FC) from the Centre and other authorities.

The apex court asked Orissa High Court to dispose such matters wherein the status quo orders have been passed regarding mining licenses within a period of six months.

The vacation bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice Anirudha Bose questioned how the mining can be continued without forest clearance from authorities under the guise of a status quo order from the High Court.

The court termed excavation of minerals without forest clearance as ‘illegal’.

Hearing a Special Leave Petition (SLP) of M/s Balasore Alloys Ltd of Odisha against the high court’s order of refusing to extend the interim order of status quo, the bench said, “You cannot be permitted. By way of order of status quo, you cannot get mining clearance. It cannot be done. Even if the timelines were extended. We will set aside the HC’s order. Anything which is excavated without forest clearance is illegal. You cannot be permitted to continue excavation. It is unfortunate that high courts are passing orders of status quo and continuing excavation without grant of forest clearance.”

“Before parting with the order, we request the HC to decide and dispose all the matters where the order of status quo is continuing in mining activities within the period of six months from today. The SLP is dismissed as withdrawn. Registry is directed to communicate this order to the Chief Justice of High Court forthwith,” the bench said in its order.

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