Civil Procedure Code (CPC)

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SC stays mining activities by Reddy brothers in Andhra Pradesh




The Supreme Court on Monday stayed all further mining activities by the Obulapuram Mining Corporation (OMC) owned by the Karnataka minister-cum-mining magnates in Andhra Pradesh.

A bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Deepak Verma appointed an expert committee headed by the Survey of India to review the mining areas and ascertain allegations of largescale encroachment of reserve forest areas allegedly by the powerful mining lobby.

The apex court granted two weeks to the committee to file its report and said no further mining activities would be permitted at the site until further orders.

The apex court also issued notices to the Reddy brothers, including G Janardhan Reddy and his brother Karunakara Reddy, on the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the Andhra Pradesh government challenging the February 26 state High Court order quashing the cancellation orders passed by the state.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati submitted that the High Court ignored the findings of the apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee and the high level inquiry committee of the state government.

Both the Committees after conducting independent inquiries had arrived at concurrent conclusion that the Reddy brothers have encroached into vast hectares of reserve forest areas in the state.

The apex court said the committee headed by the Survey of India would also include members drawn from the state department of Forest, Mines and Revenue.

The High Court had decided the matter as the case was sent back to it by the apex court on January 14 with a direction to decide it within a month after both OMC and Andhra Pradesh government consented to it.

The apex court was of the view that the High Court, which had earlier given conditional order for carrying on mining by OMC, would be in the best position to decide the vexed issues of boundary dispute involved in the matter and allowed all parties to make their case before the High Court.

The CEC had criticized Janardhana Reddy and his brothers for "illegal" mining by them in the Bellary reserve forest.

Andhra Pradesh government had alleged the OMC extended the area of mining by removing the pillars which formed the boundary of the area for which the lease was granted.

The state government had issued an order prohibiting mining after CEC had recommended stoppage of mining by the company in the area.

The CEC was constituted by the Supreme Court to inquire into the matter based on a writ petition filed by Tapal Ganesh of Bellary against OMC over alleged illegal mining in violation of the Forest Conservation Act.

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