The Supreme Court has stayed Meghalaya High Court’s order to dismantle the existing coke plants in the state within a period of 30 days and not to allow them to operate or grant permission to establish new coke plants.
However, a vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala asked the petitioner companies to approach the high court and implead themselves in the matter.
Having heard senior counsel appearing for the petitioners at a considerable length, it appears to us that the proper recourse for the petitioners would be to seek their impleadment in the suo motu proceedings pending before the High Court.
Meanwhile, the direction issued by the High Court for dismantling the coke plant(s) shall remain stayed and the same shall not be operational, the bench said.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by JMK Coke Industry Pvt Ltd and others against the May 24, 2022 order of the Meghalaya high court at Shillong in suo motu proceedings which have been registered as public interest litigation.
The high court accepted the findings contained in the Preliminary Report filed by Justice B P Katakey (Retd). The high court had appointed Justice Katakey, a former judge of the Gauhati High Court to ascertain whether the state government has complied with the directives of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal for cracking down on illegal coal mining.
Justice Katakey was appointed to look into the matter in respect of establishing and running coke plants under the Mines and Minerals Development Regulation Act, 1957.
The high court accepted one of the recommendations contained in the preliminary report of Justice B.P. Katakey (retd) to dismantle the existing coke plants within a period of 30 days and not to allow them to operate and/or grant permission to establish new coke plant(s).