The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to restrain coal companies, which were directed to wind up mining operations in 6 months after their coal block allocations were cancelled by it, from extracting coal during this period and selling it in the market.
A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said, the apex court had granted six months’ time to wind up their operations and the companies cannot be restrained from excavating coal during this period.
“If they want to excavate coal, no one can stop them. They have been given six months’ time. Why should court direct them not to extract coal during this period,” the bench said.
The court’s observation came when advocate M L Sharma, on whose plea the apex court had earlier cancelled 214 out of 218 coal blocks allocation, submitted that the companies are extracting three to four times more coal per day as they have to wind up the operations within six months.
He submitted that the companies should be restrained from doing so, but the apex court refused to entertain his plea.
On September 24, the apex court had quashed the allocation of 214 coal blocks allocated since 1993, terming it as “fatally flawed” and had allowed the Centre to take over operation of 42 such blocks which are functional.
It had asked Coal India Limited (CIL) to fill the void and take over the operation of the 42 functional blocks, saying that the cancellation of these blocks will take effect only after six months from March 31, 2015.
The apex court had given the time after it was submitted by the Attorney General that the Centre and CIL need some time to adjust to the changed situation and move forward.