NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the pleas of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) and Vedanta seeking scrapping of e-auction of iron ore in Karnataka.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Naveen Sinha said they do not accept the suggestions and observed that the sale and purchase of minerals in the past was done in an outrageous manner and on unacceptable terms causing huge leakage of public revenue. “We reject the plea of FIMI and also we reject the petition of Vendanta suggesting alternative measures for e-auction,” the bench said.
“Sale and purchase of iron ore had been conducted in the most outrageous manner and on wholly unacceptable terms resulting, inter alia, causing huge leakage of government revenue. Such experiences and events cannot be allowed to resurface,” the bench said.
FIMI had submitted that instead of e-auction, there should be long-term agreement between producers and buyers as part of the new mechanism relying upon the suggestion made by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) in this regard by its report on April 28, 2016.
The SC said that the enormity of the illegal mining and consequential damage to ecology and environment had led to the intervention of court and prompted it to exercise its jurisdiction under Article 142 of Constitution by its order on April 18, 2013 in which it had allowed mining in Ballari, Tumakuru and Chitradurga districts, but with the cap of 30 million tonne per annum.
The court said that after considering all aspects, it was of the opinion that time has not come to dispense with the existing policy of sale and purchase of iron-ore in Karnataka through e-auction.