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The Supreme Court will on Wednesday decide the fate of 218 coal blocks that were illegally allocated by the Centre to various companies.

During its hearing on the coal blocks allocation scam on August 25, the apex court held that all the coal blocks allocated by the Centre since 1993 to 2010 were illegal and that the process of the allocation was arbitrary and vague.

However, the apex court stopped short of cancelling the coal blocks during its judgement then and said more time was need to decide on the fate of the blocks.

Following its decision, the Supreme Court will today decide the fate of the 218 coal blocks, pronouncing its verdict at 2:00 p.m.

The government claims that Rs 2 lakh crore had been invested in the coal blocks.

The court, which examined the allocation of 218 blocks in pre-auction era till 2010, had held that they were done in an illegal manner by an “ad-hoc and casual” approach “without application of mind” and “Common good and public interest have, thus, suffered heavily” due to lack of fair and transparent procedure resulting in “unfair distribution” of the “national wealth” — coal — “which is king and paramount Lord of industry.”

“To sum up, the entire allocation of coal block as per recommendations made by the Screening Committee from July 14, 1993 in 36 meetings and the allocation through the government dispensation route suffers from the vice of arbitrariness and legal flaws.

“The Screening Committee has never been consistent, it has not been transparent, there is no proper application of mind, it has acted on no material in many cases, relevant factors have seldom been its guiding factors, there was no transparency and guidelines have seldom guided it,” a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha had said in its 163-page verdict.

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