Madras HC denies vacating of interim stay against stone quarries
COAL & MINING

Madras HC denies vacating of interim stay against stone quarries

On Monday, the Madras High Court denied vacating the interim stay granted in 2019 in regards to operations of stone crushing units in Tamil Nadu.

The first bench of Justice P D Audikesavalu and Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee denied vacating the stay while passing further interim orders on the PIL petitions from two people.

Considering the pollution caused by stone crushing units, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had announced a set of guidelines in 2004, specifying no such quarries can be allowed within 500 m from residential areas, national and state highways and places of worship. There should be a gap of at least one km between one unit and the other.

The TNPCB, in 2019, eased the guidelines. Questioning this, a PIL was registered in the high court in July 2019, which awarded the stay.

Another person moved the High Court with an appeal to prevent the crushing units from functioning near a school in Choolagiri in the Krishnagiri district. After clubbing both the cases, the bench noted that the principal concern is the petition filed in 2019 on which an injunction exists, and by an order dated July 19 this year, the views of the TNPCB were asked upon expert scientific opinion being received.

The government authorities, comprising the TNPCB, presented that the matter has been referred to the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), which has said that a study has to be conducted and a minimum of six months would be needed before any report can be provided.

The owners of the quarry requested the High Court to vacate the stay. They contested that they have run out of funds upon having acquired equipment and machinery for the undertaking quarrying activity purpose.

However, the bench denied the charge.

There is no case for the existing order of injunction to be vacated at this stage, it said, and added the time asked by TNPCB based on the representation of NEERI seems to be far too long.

While NEERI is allowed to provide its detailed, final report within six months from the date, a preliminary report, with possible prima facie findings, should be made available towards the October end.

The judges said that it is to guarantee that those entities which may have considerably invested in machines and equipment in contemplation of the imminent start of the quarrying business, may then be permitted to begin the business if a prima facie view is displayed in support of the recommendations of July 31, 2019, adopted by TNPCB, which have been stayed in course of the current proceedings.

They posted the cases for December 12 to determine the further course of action, based on the reports about the study conducted by NEERI and the one about the quarrying activities.

Image Source

On Monday, the Madras High Court denied vacating the interim stay granted in 2019 in regards to operations of stone crushing units in Tamil Nadu. The first bench of Justice P D Audikesavalu and Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee denied vacating the stay while passing further interim orders on the PIL petitions from two people. Considering the pollution caused by stone crushing units, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had announced a set of guidelines in 2004, specifying no such quarries can be allowed within 500 m from residential areas, national and state highways and places of worship. There should be a gap of at least one km between one unit and the other. The TNPCB, in 2019, eased the guidelines. Questioning this, a PIL was registered in the high court in July 2019, which awarded the stay. Another person moved the High Court with an appeal to prevent the crushing units from functioning near a school in Choolagiri in the Krishnagiri district. After clubbing both the cases, the bench noted that the principal concern is the petition filed in 2019 on which an injunction exists, and by an order dated July 19 this year, the views of the TNPCB were asked upon expert scientific opinion being received. The government authorities, comprising the TNPCB, presented that the matter has been referred to the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), which has said that a study has to be conducted and a minimum of six months would be needed before any report can be provided. The owners of the quarry requested the High Court to vacate the stay. They contested that they have run out of funds upon having acquired equipment and machinery for the undertaking quarrying activity purpose. However, the bench denied the charge. There is no case for the existing order of injunction to be vacated at this stage, it said, and added the time asked by TNPCB based on the representation of NEERI seems to be far too long. While NEERI is allowed to provide its detailed, final report within six months from the date, a preliminary report, with possible prima facie findings, should be made available towards the October end. The judges said that it is to guarantee that those entities which may have considerably invested in machines and equipment in contemplation of the imminent start of the quarrying business, may then be permitted to begin the business if a prima facie view is displayed in support of the recommendations of July 31, 2019, adopted by TNPCB, which have been stayed in course of the current proceedings. They posted the cases for December 12 to determine the further course of action, based on the reports about the study conducted by NEERI and the one about the quarrying activities. Image Source

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