The Centre has told the Supreme Court that the tenure of the Justice M B Shah Commission, which is looking into illegal mining in the country, cannot be extended as it is “unwarranted”.
The government has also refused for the time being to place reports of the commission on illegal mining in Jharkhand and Orissa before the apex court, saying that they have to be first looked into by Parliament.
“It is respectfully submitted that as per the statutory scheme, the report submitted by the Commission is to be placed before the Parliament, along with the action taken report, within a period of six months,” it said in its affidavit, adding “The report is required to be placed before the Cabinet.”
The Centre said placing the reports before the court would “impinge” upon the jurisdiction of Parliament and pre-empt the statutory provisions. It said it is for the Centre to take a decision on the extension and pleaded to dismiss the application seeking to extend the tenure of the Commission.
“It is submitted that the Commission has already submitted six reports, which contain materials and are being effectively and expeditiously examined by the central government to strengthen the legal framework and remedial measures to deal with illegal mining, trade and transportation in the country. Therefore, the ministry is of the view that further extension of the tenure of the Commission is unwarranted and has taken the decision accordingly since the terms of reference have been substantially met by the Commission,” it said.
On January 13, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to place the Justice M B Shah Commission’s report on illegal mining in Orissa and Jharkhand before it by January 27. A green bench headed by Justice AK Patnaik had also directed the Centre to provide a copy of the reports to Central Empowered Committee.