Ban on iron ore export: Supreme Court issues notice on plea filed by NGO Common Cause

The Supreme Court has today issued notice in a plea seeking the complete ban on export of iron ore whether in the form of pellets or otherwise. The plea by Common Cause was filed by Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan and was strongly objected to by Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, who had filed a similar petition on which the Court had already issued notice earlier. 

During the hearing before the bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, Sharma categorically mentioned that the Bhushan petition is a complete copy-paste of his plea.

Advocate Sharma said, “He has stolen my petition, whenever a notice is being issued he hijacks my petition. They have stolen my petition, all my documents and everything, I filed and spent so much, he has always stolen my petition.”

The Bench repeatedly tried to stop Sharma from making averments. CJI Ramana said, “Mr. Sharma, see your writ petition is already admitted. Notice is already issued, Mr Sharma. Your writ petition is always having some problems and also there is now statue where it is prohibited. Mr Bhushan has all right to file a PIL.”

“No your, lordship, he cannot, according to SC judgement, I am quoting it…., Please ask (Prashant Bhushan) what is the cause of action in his petition,” Sharma asked. 

Justice Hima Kohli said, “Mr Sharma, you are interjecting like this, this is not good. Don’t describe yourself as caveator.”

“What is your problem Mr Sharma, we are already dealing with the PIL. This is not your case, when your case comes you can argue then. We will disconnect you. Petitioner has not argued his case, and you are arguing your case,” said the CJI. 

Prashant Bhushan submitted that he wants to highlight two issues in his writ petition; first, relating to the export of iron ore in any form, in pellet form or otherwise, and the Court has on multiple times said that this type of mining is leading to over-exploitation of natural resources.

Secondly, he has submitted that even though the Government says an export duty has been imposed, mining companies are pelletising iron ore and exporting it in pellet form without paying custom duty.

The Bench then directed the Central Government to file a counter-affidavit within four weeks.
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