Taking strong exception to the continuance of illegal mining in the eco-sensitive Aravali Hills in Rajasthan, the Supreme Court has stayed all mining licences granted after December 12, 2002 in the state.
A Bench comprising Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S H Kapadia said issued notice to the state government on a petition filed by a nongovernmental organization, Bandhua Mukti Morcha,
The petition alleged the state government was violating the apex court order by granting licences for mining.
The Bench also expressed anguish over reports that illegal mining continued in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri district despite a court order against it.
Issuing notice to the state government, the court asked the chief secretary to identify those responsible for illegal mining in the district.
The Bench said, "Before considering the suggestion to refer the matter to the CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation] we will request the chief secretary to examine the matter in capacity of the officer of the court and submit the report in [a] sealed cover."
Perusing a report, it observed such illegal mining was going on in the district prior to the intervention of the court.
The court also went into the opinion of an environment official who pointed out that illegal mining could not have happened without the connivance of officials.