Illegal mining in Meghalaya: HC unsatisfied with affidavits of Chief Secy, DGP

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Shillong, May 26: The Meghalaya High Court on Thursday directed the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP) to file further affidavits in connection with the measures taken to stop illegal mining and transportation of coal in Meghalaya.

“The instances referred to in Justice Katakey’s 13th interim report must be individually dealt with and both the Chief Secretary and the DGP will file further affidavits indicating measures taken to ensure that there is no breach of the subsisting orders in future. Such further affidavits should be filed within four weeks,” the full bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee said in its order after hearing a PIL.

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The bench has expressed dissatisfaction on the affidavits filed by the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police pursuant to the order dated May 15, 2023.

“However, such order referred to the 13th interim report filed by Justice Katakey (retired) and the innumerable instances of a flagrant breach of subsisting orders indicated in such report. Neither the Chief Secretary nor the Director-General of Police has dealt with such aspects of the matter,” it said.

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“Indeed, the affidavit filed by the DGP is more of what has been done after the horse has bolted. What the Court required was for the horse to be kept safe and to close the stable door,” the bench said while adding “It does not appear that either the administration or the police has made any endeavour in such regard as the stable doors have been left wide open with both the administration and the police looking the other way.”

The bench further directed the State to also ensure that the previous coal is disposed of as per the original schedule as set by Justice Katakey.

“Justice Katakey will keep on monitoring the situation and keep up the good work. A further ad hoc remuneration of Rs 5 lakh be immediately released to Justice Katakey,” it said.

The next hearing will be held on  July 3, 2023.

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