The fate of the 218 coal blocks, which were allocated to companies illegally by the Centre, will be decided by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court had reserved its order on the cancellation of coal block allocations that were earlier declared illegal, jeopardising projects built around the blocks and threatening to exacerbate a shortage of fuel.
During the hearing on August, a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha, had held that all coal blocks allocations since 1993 to 2010 by various regimes at the Centre have been made illegally and arbitrarily.
However, it had stopped short of cancelling the coal blocks during its judgement and said what the consequences will be is the issue which remains to be tackled.
The top court will pronounce its verdict at 2 PM on blocks whose allocation was declared illegal by it and in which government claimed that Rs. 2 lakh crore investments have been made.
The court, which examined the allocation of 218 blocks in pre-auction era till 2010, had held that they were done in an illegal manner by an “ad-hoc and casual” approach “without application of mind” and “Common good and public interest have, thus, suffered heavily” due to lack of fair and transparent procedure resulting in “unfair distribution” of the “national wealth” — coal — “which is king and paramount Lord of industry.”
There are 218 blocks of which 80 have already been cancelled. Out of the remaining 138, 46 blocks can be further exempted. Of these, 12 are ultra-power projects that have already been exempted by the apex court.