The Madras High Court has upheld its decision of imposing the ban on mining in four districts till the investigation by the special committee had reached its conclusion. Furthermore, the court appointed a new committee headed by a retired judge to conduct enquiry and submit the report in 3 months.
VV Mineral Mining had submitted a petition citing an inquiry against two orders. First order, dated 8th Aug 2013, was a report submitted by special team headed by Gagandeep Singh Bedi. The order was to inspect illicit mining with regards to six lessees of minerals in Thothukudi district. The second order, dated 17th September 2013, was in regards to inspecting illicit mining of major minerals in leases granted to private companies in the four districts.
The company alleged that the chairperson of the committee conducted the investigation in a biased manner and is prejudiced against the companies.
The mining operations have been banned in the areas for about two years. The court further stated that no due opportunity was given to the companies to state their views. The State government has to get the approval of Central government to direct parties concerned in to not undertaking the mining operations.
The court stated that VV Minerals had rightly invoked the rule of ‘bias’ on the ground that Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi is biased and prejudiced against the company and could not have been the chairperson of the special committee.