A three-judge bench headed by Justice RM Lodha, which had agreed to look into the alleged irregularities in coal block allocation on September 14, 2012, wrapped up the proceedings which witnessed the Centre itself putting in motion the process of deallocating some coal blocks.

The bench heard the arguments of all concerned parties involved in the allocation, including the seven mining states and the association of mining companies. Private companies contended any order of the apex court should have prospective effect and all the allocations should not be scrapped in one go and it should be decided on a case-to-case basis.

"It is submitted that as far as the system of allocation is concerned, any challenge even if successful, could have prospective effect where people have acted in a bona fide manner, assuming the machinery was in accordance with law,” said Harsh Salve.

"If there are irregularities in the grant, it is submitted that it would depend on the facts of an individual case as to the degree of the irregularities and whether it has resulted in a miscarriage of justice, in which case there could be a wholesale invalidation," senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for associations of Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association, said.

The court was hearing petitions filed by members of civil societies including former CEC N Gopalaswami, ex-Navy chief L Ramdas and former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian and lawyer ML Sharma seeking cancellation of coal block allocations.


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