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Odisha illegal mining case : Interim apex court order may be delayed


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, May 8:

The much awaited interim order on the PIL , filed by an NGO, Commoncause, on illegal mining in Odisha, is unlikely to be pronounced on Friday, which happens to be the last working day for the head of the Supreme Court’s 3-member Forest Bench, Hon’ble Justice Anang Kumar Patnaik, who is due to take retirement on June 2, 2014.

Friday is also the last working day for the Supreme Court before the commencement of the summer vacation which extends from May 12 to June 29, 2014.

Justice Anang K Patnaik
Justice Anang K Patnaik

The Forest Bench which has heard arguments in the PIL case on the large scale illegal mining in   Odisha, has reserved its ruling.

There were expectations that the interim order would be pronounced by the Bench on Friday in view of the fact that two of the three judges adjudicating the matter would take retirement during the summer vacation period.

It may be mentioned here that, apart from Justice Patnaik, another Hon’ble member of the Forest Bench, Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar is also due to retire on June 6, 2014.

The Supreme Court Bar will be holding a farewell meeting in honour of the two retiring judges on Friday afternoon, sources said.

Although Justice Patnaik and Justice Nijjar would continue as judges of the apex court until June 2 and June 6 respectively, they have not been named in the list of 8 judges for the division benches which would conduct the hearings of urgent miscellaneous matters and regular hearing matters during the summer vacation.

Legal experts say, both the retiring judges may choose to pass their interim order in the Odisha mining case during the vacation, although it  is a very unusual and rare practice.

There are apprehensions among the mining lessees in Odisha that the interim order of the court could lead to temporary or complete closure of a number of Odisha mines which are operating on deemed extension for the third and fourth time. The apprehensions arise because the Forest bench had earlier passed similar orders in  cases relating to illegal mining in Karnataka and Goa.