Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia Sunday said that illegal mining was going on in various states of the country and called upon the central government to put in place a regulator for both appraisal and pricing of extracted minerals.
‘Illegal mining is going on in different states,’ said Justice Kapadia, who presided over the valedictory function of a seminar ‘Global environment and disaster management: Law and Society’ here.
He said that norms concerning mining were there but these were being flouted at the state level.’All norms and mining plans are there, but at the state level, they are being flouted for some reasons. We do not have machinery to supervise even mining plans for environmental protection. There is a biggest problem of pricing. Time has come when excavated minerals should be judged, auctioned or should have price determining mechanism,’ he said.
‘Over the years, I have come to realise that loopholes are not in law, loopholes are in our character,’ Justice Kapadia added.His remarks come at a time when Karnataka Lokayukta’s yet-to-be submitted report on illegal mining has created a political storm in the state, as it apparently names Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and some other political leaders.
Justice Kapadia said there was under-invoicing in the prices of extracted minerals and it was sold abroad for a huge margin.He said that a problem faced by the apex court was of cases relating to buildings and projects coming up at the end in the form of public interest litigations (PILs).
Justice Kapadia said that in many cases, village bodies initially grant no objection certificates, but later turn their backs and protest against the projects.
His remarks come in the wake of courts stricking down some of the land acquisitions made by the Uttar Pradesh government in Greater Noida.
The Supreme Court had earlier this month quashed acquisition of land in Shahberi village in Greater Noida. A total of 156 hectares of village land was acquired by Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) in Shahberi and then sold to developers at exorbitant rates.
The Allahabad High Court too has quashed acquisition of 598 hectares in Patwari village – the second land acquisition struck down by the court this month.
Justice Kapadia called for a regulatory mechanism for appraisement of projects, saying that the authorities cannot rely on the reports of the project proponents.
He also referred to reduction in arable land in the country.He said development should take place in a scientific manner and courts were sometimes faced with cases relating to choosing between protection of livelihood and environment.