HYDERABAD: The High Court on Monday directed the state government to submit a list of people, and their antecedents, against whom recovery proceedings had been initiated for indulging in illegal sand mining in the state.
The order was passed by a division bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice PV Sanjay Kumar while dealing with a batch of writ petitions filed against illegal sand quarrying in the state.
It may be recalled that the High Court has recently stayed sand auctions and quarrying in the state from April 1, and has refused to lift the ban despite government’s request.
Citing a case where a contractor had excavated about 2,0000 cubic metres of sand in violation of the lease agreement, the chief justice remarked that the government had been granting stays on penalties imposed by local officials concerned on the contractors for violation of lease conditions.
"The government has failed to take effective steps to rein in defaulter contractors. Besides, defaulters secure contracts in ‘benami’ names and indulge in illegal quarrying, he pointed out. Advocate-general A Sudarshan Reddy, while claiming that the government was not allowing illegal sand mining in the state, urged the court to vacate the stay on sand mining and allow it to conduct auctions.
“The government has taken steps for recovery of penalties from contractors under the Revenue Recovery Act. The government alone has not granted stay on recovery of penalty from defaulting contractors but the High Court has also granted stay in some of the cases. The state is not trying to protect the defaulters in any manner,” he said.
The chief justice then told the advocate-general not to blame the court. “I would like to know who the contractors indulging in illegal sand quarrying are. Submit the list of the persons against whom penalty was imposed. Also submit the list of names of benamis and also the contractors who participated in auction in benami names despite their disqualification for indulging in illegal mining.
Also tell us their antecedents and IT returns details, and how many cubic metres of sand was excavated illegally. And, how many leases have been terminated till date?” he asked the AG before adjourning the case to Thursday.