Shillong, Sept 9: The Meghalaya High Court has issued a suo motu contempt notice to the State’s chief secretary and Mining secretary for failing to prohibit illegal coal mining in the State besides willful failure to declare the quantum of coal dumped at various places as per previous court orders.
A bench headed by chief justice Sanjib Banerjee, however, said the order will not be effective and will remain in abeyance as the advocate general has sought 10 days to seriously address all issues.
“It is noticed with alarm that the administration has been attempting to obfuscate the issue which leads to the perception that it may not be serious in implementing the prohibition on coal mining,” the bench said.
“Issue a suo motu rule of contempt to the chief secretary of the State and the secretary in the Department of Mining for the flagrant and deliberate violation of orders of this Court,” the full bench said in its order on Wednesday.
The court had directed the State to make a fresh inventory of coal dumped at various places, “which does not seem to have been done”.
The bench said the contemnors also failed to implement the prohibition of mining coal in the state without obtaining an appropriate license in accordance with the law.
Newspapers reported deaths due to illegal mining in recent times, it said.
“Rigs and like structures are used at the mining sites which are visible from quite a distance. Freshly mined coal is easy to identify and is being regularly dumped at several places in the State which previously had no collection of coal,” the bench stated.
Criticising the Meghalaya administration, the court said that one of the petitions pending in the HC speaks of illegally mined coal in the State being shown to have originated in Assam by forging and fabricating documents.
The matter will be heard again after 10 days. (PTI)