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Cap on iron ore mining relaxed in Karnataka

A bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice C.T. Ravi Kumar, however, rejected the plea made by the state and the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to lift the ban altogether
The apex court had imposed a ban on mining in Bellary on July 29, 2011 and that on Chitradurga and Tumkur on August 26 in the same year after the CEC had submitted a report.
The apex court had imposed a ban on mining in Bellary on July 29, 2011 and that on Chitradurga and Tumkur on August 26 in the same year after the CEC had submitted a report.
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Our Legal Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 27.08.22, 02:34 AM

The Supreme Court has raised the ceiling on iron ore mining in Karnataka. The cap on mining has been raised to 35 million metric tonnes (MMT) in the iron ore-rich Bellary district from 28 MMT earlier.

In Chitradurga and Tumkur, the combined limit for the two districts has been increased to 15 MMT from 7 MMT earlier.

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A bench comprising Chief Justice N.V.Ramana, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice C.T.Ravi Kumar, however, rejected the plea made by the state and the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to lift the ban altogether.

“This court has generally accepted the recommendations of the CEC when it comes to the ceiling limit. In the present case, the CEC has recommended a complete relaxation of the ceiling limit. But we are not inclined to allow the same in toto. Rather, the situation merits a cautious approach keeping in view the concerns raised and to ensure that any changes in the situation with respect to mining activity in Karnataka is brought about gradually,” the bench said.

“Conservation of the ecology and the environment must go hand in hand with the spirit of economic development and the fine balance between the two goals is what is sought to be achieved even now,” the bench said in its judgment.

The earlier restrictions were imposed following a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO Samaj Parivartana Samudya and a few others who pressed for a total ban on mining activities on the ground that indiscriminate mining activities had resulted in serious ecological devastation and raised public health concerns.

The apex court had imposed a ban on mining in Bellary on July 29, 2011 and that on Chitradurga and Tumkur on August 26 in the same year after the CEC had submitted a report.

However, in March 2012, the court accepted a recommendation from the CEC to cap the total production of iron under all mining leases issued in Bellary district at 25 MMT. A ceiling of 5 MMT was also set for production in Chitradurga and Tumkur.

The limit was raised again to 28 MMT in Bellary and 7 MMT in Chitradurga and Turmkur in December 2017 based on a fresh report submitted by the CEC in July of that year.

“This is too little and also too late. It doesn’t help in meeting the massive demand of the steel industry (at a time) when JSW is ramping up its steel production capacity. These mines have more capacity to produce, which could be well consumed due to soaring demand,” T.R.K. Rao, former commercial director of NMDC, told a business portal.

‘WhatsApp choices a mirage’

The Delhi high court has held that WhatsApp’s 2021 privacy policy places its users in a “take it or leave it” situation, virtually forcing them into an agreement by providing a “mirage” of choices and then sharing their sensitive data with its parent company Facebook.

The high court’s verdict came while dismissing the appeals of WhatsApp and Facebook against an order rejecting their challenge to a probe ordered by the Competition Commission of India(CCI) into the instant messaging platform’s updated privacy policy of 2021.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said the single judge’s April 22, 2021 order was well reasoned and the appeals are devoid of merit and substance that would warrant the interference of this court.

While the judgment was pronounced by the division bench on Thursday, it was uploaded on the court’s website on Friday.

In April last year, a single judge of the high court refused to interdict the investigation directed by the CCI on the petitions moved by WhatsApp LLC and Facebook Inc. In January last year, the CCI on its own had decided to look into WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy based on news reports.



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