The Supreme Court docket on Thursday urged the Centre and states to undertake a stern strategy in opposition to unlawful mining, because it known as the Madhya Pradesh authorities supporting the rivalry of some violators “very shocking”. The apex court docket took umbrage that the MP authorities needed the violators to not face legal prosecutions solely as a result of they’d paid financial fines.
“We’re of the opinion that the violators can’t be permitted to go scot free on fee of penalty solely. There have to be some stringent provisions which can have deterrent impact in order that the violators might imagine twice earlier than committing such offences and earlier than inflicting harm to the earth and nature,” mentioned a Supreme Court docket bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan.
Authoring the judgment, Justice MR Shah reminded the State that they’re the custodian of mines and minerals within the nation, and mentioned they need to be extra delicate in direction of defending the ecological steadiness by guaranteeing stern motion in opposition to the violators.
It identified that though provisions within the Mines and Minerals (Growth and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act) empowered the state to withdraw prosecution for unlawful mining after imposing fines, they’d do nicely to acknowledge the rising concern concerning environmental damages and its grave penalties.
The observations got here as the highest court docket dismissed a clutch of appeals for quashing as many as 14 FIRs registered in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district in opposition to unlawful sand mining and their transportation. Whereas the FIR was lodged on a directive from the judicial Justice of the Peace involved, the violators proceeded to settle the fees underneath the MMDR Act by paying financial fines. These petitions have been dismissed by the excessive court docket.
The state authorities, which had initially supported the Justice of the Peace’s order on FIRs, took a U-turn earlier than the Supreme Court docket and mentioned the prosecution underneath the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for theft and abetting concealment of stolen properties can not go on after these violators have already settled the case by coughing up fines.
The bench known as the state authorities’s assist to the “violators” “very shocking”, and held that the legal prosecution underneath the IPC is impartial of the settlement proceedings underneath the MMDR Act.
The court docket mentioned that even when a state authorities decides to withdraw instances underneath the MMDR Act, investigation underneath the IPC shall go on in accordance with the legislation.
The bench, due to this fact, allowed quashing of the fees underneath Part 23A of the MMDR Act however clarified the prosecution for theft and many others will proceed in all of the 14 FIRs.