Coalgate: SC agrees with Centre for not appointing Committee

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today approved the Centre’s objection to its suggestion for appointment of a committee to consider each individual case of coal block allocations held as “illegal” saying “this would virtually amount to nullifying” the August 25 judgment.

“This is strongly opposed by the Attorney General and  we think he is right in doing so,” a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha said.

“The judgment did not deal with any individual case. It dealt only with the process of allotment of coal blocks and found it to be illegal and arbitrary. The process of allotment cannot be reopened collaterally through the appointment of a committee. This would virtually amount to nullifying the judgment. The process is a continuous thread that runs through all the allotments,” it said.

“Since it was fatally flawed, the beneficiaries of the flawed process must suffer the consequences thereof and the appointment of a committee would really amount to permitting a body to examine the correctness of the judgment. This is clearly impermissible,” the bench also comprising Justice M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph said.

The bench said that in the past, the apex court had taken the assistance of one committee or the other in several cases but that was where an inquiry was required to be conducted and this court was obviously not in a position to conduct any such inquiry.

However, in the present case, the bench said, “No such occasion or situation has arisen in the present case to necessitate the appointment of a committee. Therefore, the question of appointing a committee simply does not arise.”

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