The Madras High Court has directed the State government to issue guidelines by providing stringent measures to arrest illicit quarrying and transportation of minerals. The guidelines should direct the authorities to lodge private complaints, if the vehicle was involved for the second or additional time, Justice D Hariparanthaman said.
The judge was disposing of a writ petition from Kanchi Anbudurai, praying for a direction to the Assistant Director of Mines in Tiruvannamalai to release his lorry seized by him on June 4.
Since these types of writ petitions were filed often before this court and routine orders were passed, the judge directed the Tiruvallur district collector to furnish certain particulars, on June 13 last. Accordingly, the Collector submitted a report which stated that during 2010-11, 783 vehicles had been seized and `1.28 crores realised towards fine amounts. It was 1,248 during 2011-12 and the fine amount collected was Rs 3.74 crore. Till May this year, 1,856 vehicles had been seized and Rs 3.43 crore realised. The cases filed were 480 (2010-11), 675 (2011-12), 1,087 (2012-13) and up to May this year, it was 140. The judge noted that no private complaints were filed till May 2013. After having seized the vehicles for transporting illicit minerals, the authorities were not filing private complaints and prosecuting the persons involved in the cases. Hence, there should be some guidelines as to, in which case, there should be a prosecution. In case, a vehicle was seized for the first time, enhanced seigniorage fee as contemplated under Rule 36-A of the TN Minor Mineral and Concession Rules could be collected. If the vehicle was seized repeatedly, the same should be prevented by stringent measures and the persons involved should be prosecuted, the judge said, and gave the direction to the Industries Secretary.