Dispose Of Within 6 Months Pending Matters With Orders Of Status Quo Concerning Mining Licenses – SC Directs Orissa HC
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Orissa High Court to dispose of all pending matters where the order of status quo is continued since long and the mining activities have been continued under the order of status quo without Forest Clearance, within a period of 6 months.
A vacation Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice Aniruddha Bose was hearing an SLP filed by M/s. Balasore Alloys Ltd. The SLP was filed challenging the order of the Orissa High Court which had refused to extend the order of status quo.
The Court while dismissing the SLP as withdrawn, held –
"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 excavation and the mining activities. Under the guise of the order of status quo, the petitioner, who is not having the Forest Clearance cannot be permitted to excavate and/or continue the mining activities. Therefore, as such, the High Court has rightly not extended the order of status quo."
The Counsel Ms. Pragya Baghel appearing for the Petitioner had sought the permission of the Apex Court to withdraw the SLP as the main petition is yet to be considered by the High Court on merits. The Bench accordingly granted the permission and dismissed the Petition as withdrawn.
"Before parting with the present order, we request the High Court to decide and dispose of all such pending matters where the order of status quo is continued since long and the mining activities have been continued under the order of status quo without Forest Clearance, within a period of six months from today without fail," the Bench noted.
"The Registry is directed to communicate this order to the Hon'ble Chief Justice of the High Court forthwith," the Court concluded.