8 Aug 2023 12:50 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice and stayed the demolition of coke plants as directed by Deputy Commissioner, West Khasi Hills District in Meghalaya. It’s accompanied by a directive for the Deputy Commissioner to seal the coke plants, effectively rendering them non-functional until further notice.Earlier in December 2022, based on a PIL, the Meghalaya High Court had ordered that...
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice and stayed the demolition of coke plants as directed by Deputy Commissioner, West Khasi Hills District in Meghalaya. It’s accompanied by a directive for the Deputy Commissioner to seal the coke plants, effectively rendering them non-functional until further notice.
Earlier in December 2022, based on a PIL, the Meghalaya High Court had ordered that all the illegal coke plants must be shut down.
The division bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Dipankar Dutta issued a notice in the appeal filed by Karmela Coke Industries and others against the Meghalaya HC order.
The court observed “Meanwhile, demolition of coke plants, as directed by the Deputy Commissioner, West Khasi Hills District shall remain stayed. However, the said Deputy Commissioner shall be at liberty to seal the coke plants’ premises which shall remain non-operational”.
In a scathing indictment, the Meghalaya High Court had noted the State administration's alleged complicity in the illegal functioning of coke plants. The High Court lamented the inability of the State government to combat the proliferation of illegal coke plants, despite repeated efforts by both the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal to address the issue.
The court has been striving to enforce orders aimed at curbing illegal coal mining and the unauthorized establishment of coke plants over several months.
The court observed “Indeed, it now appears that the State government may have helped circumvent orders and actively connive with the operators of the illegal coke plants”.
Based on the PIL filed and the documents issued by Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board, the court found out that only 4 units have a license to operate.
Therefore, in order to curb environmental violations, the High Court has issued a sweeping directive to shut down all unauthorized coke plants operating within the state and directed the Chief Secretary to file a compliance report.
"The functioning of any coke oven plant without due permission would amount to a flagrant violation of environmental norms," the court emphasized, underlining the significance of adhering to regulatory standards to protect the state's fragile ecosystem.
In a stern warning to the State government, the court reminded authorities of their obligations to enforce the law and adhere to orders issued by courts and tribunals.
“The State is put on notice that if it is unable to implement this order or the existing orders of Courts and Tribunals which are binding on it, this Court will have to look at resources beyond the State to enforce such orders," the court cautioned.
Case title: M/S Karmela Coke Industries v. State of Meghalaya and Ors
Citation: Diary No. 28879-2023
For petitioners: Sr. Adv. Mr. Atmaram Nadkarni, Sr. Adv. Mr. Siddharth Luthra, Sr. Adv. Mr. Siddharth Agarwal and Mr. Samar Vijay Singh, AOR along with Advocates Ms. Bansuri Swaraj, Adv. Mr. Sudesh Kotwal, Adv. Ms. Bani Dikshit, Adv. Mr. Gautam Sharma, Adv. Mr. Keshav Mittal, Adv. Ms. Ana Upadhyay, Adv. Mr. Manya Hasija, Adv. Mr. Tejasvi Gupta, Adv. Mr. Pawan Upadhyay, Adv. Mr. Siddhant Gupta, Adv. Mr. Anmol Khera, Adv. Mr. Kumarbkashyap, Adv. Ms. Kaisee, Adv. Ms. Arshiya Gosh, Adv, Ms. Sabarni Som, Adv. Mr. Uddhav Khanna, Adv