The Supreme Court on Thursday urged the Center and the states to take a tough stance against illegal mining, as they called the Madhya Pradesh government “very surprising”, supporting the protests of some violators. The apex court claimed that the MP government wanted the violators not to face criminal prosecutions as they paid monetary fines.
“We are of the opinion that violators cannot be allowed to go free only on payment of penalty.” There should be some stringent provisions which can have a deterrent effect so that violators can think twice before committing such crimes and harm the earth and nature, ”a Supreme Court bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan said.
Justice MR Shah, while delivering the verdict, reminded the state that they are the custodians of mines and minerals in the country, and said that they should be more sensitive to protect the ecological balance by ensuring strict action against the violators.
It pointed out that although provisions in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act) have empowered the state to withdraw its lawsuit for illegal mining after imposing fines, they are increasingly concerned about environmental harm and its serious consequences Will do well to accept. .
The apex court said that the apex court dismissed a group of appeals for dismissal of 14 FIRs lodged in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh against illegal sand mining and their transport. While the FIR was lodged on an instruction from the judicial magistrate concerned, the violators settled the charges under the MMDR Act by paying monetary fines. These petitions were rejected by the High Court.
The state government, which initially supported the magistrate’s order on the FIR, took a U-turn before the Supreme Court and said under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to hide and steal stolen assets possessed by these violators Prosecution can be conducted. Already settled the case with a fine cough.
The bench called the violations of state government support “very surprising”, and held that criminal prosecution under the IPC is independent of settlement proceedings under the MMDR Act.
The court said that even if the state government decides to withdraw the cases under the MMDR Act, the investigation under IPC will be as per law.
Therefore, the Bench allowed the termination of charges under Section 23A of the MMDR Act, but clarified that prosecution for theft etc. would continue in all 14 FIRs.
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