Meghalaya High Court Directs DGP Assam To Take Action Against 'Kingpins' Involved In Illegal Mining Of Coal In The State
The Meghalaya High Court has directed the Director General Of Police, Assam to take action against "kingpins" who are actively involved in the operation of illegal mining of coal in the State.
The Court also expressed its displeasure over the way the State including the police administration has been lacking in taking appropriate steps to arrest the accused in the illegal mining of coal in the State despite orders in such regard having been passed by the National Green Tribunal since or about 2016 and affirmed by the Supreme Court in 2019.
In this context, the Bench noted, "It is unfortunate that the machinery in the State, be it the administration or the police, have been lacking in taking appropriate steps to arrest the illegal mining of coal in the State despite orders in such regard having been passed by the National Green Tribunal since or about 2016 and affirmed by the Supreme Court by 2019. Repeated orders have been passed in the present and the connected proceedings, particularly in the suo motu proceedings instituted by the Court, for the last 15 months; but to no effect."
The three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee, Justice H. S. Thangkhiew, and Justice W. Diengdoh directed that “The Director-General of Police, Assam will also look into the complaint filed by the petitioner on June 30, 2023 and ensure that appropriate steps in accordance with law are taken in respect thereof."
The Court also held, "In the meantime, in view of the apparent threat received by the petitioner and a similar allegation being made by the petitioner in PIL No.8 of 2022, since the relevant petitioners ordinarily reside in Assam, the Director-General of Police, Assam is requested to take appropriate steps through the officers-in-charge of the local police stations and the Superintendents of Police of the relevant districts to ensure the safety and security of the petitioners, their family members and lawyers representing such petitioners”.
Advocate Amit Goyal appeared on behalf of the petitioners and Advocate General Amit Kumar along with Deputy Solicitor General of India Nitesh Mozika appeared on behalf of the respondents.
In this case, the petitioner had lodged an FIR at Basistha Police Station on June 30, alleging that an alleged kingpin in the illegal operations of coke plants in Meghalaya, had called him, and even come to his residence to threaten him with dire consequences if the petition was pursued.
The order came a day after the High Court issued a show cause to the Meghalaya government on why the CBI should not inquire into the illegal mining of coal and its use, particularly since the activities seem to be controlled by persons based in Assam.
The Court has further listed the matter along with other connected matters on July 13.
Cause Title: Shailendra Kumar Sharma Vs. State of Meghalaya & ors