No Environment Clearance Violation: NGT Dismisses Application Against M/S Jindal Saw Limited
LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
3 May 2023 1:29 PM GMT
The National Green Tribunal, Central Zone at Bhopal comprising of Justice Sheo Kumar Singh (Judicial Member) and Dr.Arun Kumar Verma (Expert Member) has dismissed the Original Application filed against M/s Jindal Saw Limited giving a clear finding on merits and reaffirmed that no interference was warranted as no Environment Clearance violation or illegality, as alleged or otherwise, could be established by the Applicants.
The Applicants had sought interference of the National Green Tribunal, Central Zone at Bhopal alleging that the M/s Jindal Saw Ltd being the mining leaseholder had been violating the conditions of Environmental Clearance, Overburden dumping was being done illegally, Illegal mining and blasting was being done causing cracks in the houses of local villagers and Narsingh Mataji’s temple.
Background of the case:
M/s Jindal Saw Limited was granted an iron-ore mining lease at Bhilwara, Rajasthan in the year 2010. The Environment Clearance (EC) for the project was granted on 09.08.2010. Since June’ 2011, the Project Proponent has been conducting mining activities. In year 2015, the Applicants first filed a writ petition before the High Court of Rajasthan at Jodhpur which was withdrawn with liberty to file before the National Green Tribunal. In the year 2017, this Original Application was filed alleging the village Dhulkhera, adjoining the Mining Lease area, had been adversely affected by the mining activity. It was alleged that M/s Jindal Saw Limited had been violating the conditions of the EC like specific condition no. (x) which states that overburden should be dumped in the earmarked dumping sites only, violation of condition no. (ix) which stated that no watercourse and/or water resources shall be obstructed due to mining operation and condition no. (xxv) which states that the vehicles carrying the mineral shall be covered by Tarapaulin. It was further alleged that mining activities were leading to loss of agriculture, illegal mining was being done, blasting was being done which was causing cracks in the house of local villagers and also the local temple and that mining was being done in Eco-Sensitive Area. Further, it was also agitated that despite representation by villagers, the concerned Authorities were taking no action. Thus, the applicants prayed for quashing the EC, restraining the mining activities, permanently stopping the blasting activities and sought compensation along with other reliefs.
S&A Law Offices appearing for M/s Jindal Saw Limited canvassed before the Ld. Tribunal that the OA has been filed with malafide intention. Applicant No.2 was a contractual employee of the Respondent No.2 on ad-hoc basis from 08.09.2011 to 01.02.2014. This fact has been concealed by the applicants. Only after the discontinuance of his employment, as a counter blast, the Applicant No.2 along with other Applicants had filed the proceedings making false and baseless allegations. It was further pointed out that the present OA was filed without any authority and without any cause of action, as none of the Applicant had any personal grievance against the Project Proponent. It was demonstrated that allegations had been made without any cogent evidence or supporting documents. On behalf of M/s Jindal Saw Limited, more than a dozen Scientific Reports, Investigation Reports and Compliance Reports were furnished on record to show that all its activities were within legally permissible limits, as per the approved mining plan and in compliance with the statute. It was argued that many overlapping issued had already been adjudicated in the past by several High Courts. Further, periodic and latest compliance reports were furnished to illustrate that no EC violation, as alleged or otherwise, were being done. Even the State Authorities affirmed through their Affidavits, Inspections Reports and Compliance reports that no violation, as alleged, was being done by the Project proponent.
The Ld. National Green Tribunal, Central Zone at Bhopal after considering all the submissions, pleadings and judgments cited by the parties has given a detailed judgment rejecting the Original Application No. 95 of 2017. The same will have far-reaching consequences on the Iron-Ore mining industry as a whole because it will tremendously boost the confidence of the diligent commercial entities working in the Mining Sector who routinely face unwarranted litigation by third parties.
Title: Shivlal Salve Applicant Versus Union of India & Ors. Respondent [Original Application No. 95/2017 (CZ) (M.A. No. 392/2017)]
Counsel For Applicants: Mr. Saurabh Sharma, Adv.
Counsel For Respondents: S&A Law Offices team led by Mr. Manoj K. Singh, Mr. Nilava Bandyopadhyay, Mr. Anurag Abhishek, Ms. Ankita Sinha, Mr. Sahil Purvey andMr. Om Shankar Shrivastava, Adv, Mr. Arvind Soni, Adv