Order of the High Court of Meghalaya for protection of petitioners from "kingpins" involved in the operation of illegal coke plants and illegal coal mining in Meghalaya, 06/07/2023

  • 06/07/2023

Order of the High Court of Meghalaya at Shillong dated 06/07/2023 in the matter of Shailendra Kumar Sharma Vs State of Meghalaya & Others.

The matter related to threats being faced by the petitioners from "alleged kingpins involved in the illegal operations of coke plants and illegal coal mining in Meghalaya".

Advocate General referred to a report of July 3, 2023 filed by the Director General of Police in the state. The report said that in the course of investigation, one of the identified accused persons (owner of Kalyani Fuel Limited) was arrested for not cooperating with the investigation.

"It is unfortunate that the machinery in the State, be it the administration or the police, have been lacking in taking appropriate steps to arrest the illegal mining of coal in the State despite orders in such regard having been passed by the National Green Tribunal since or about 2016 and affirmed by the Supreme Court by 2019," said the bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justices W Diengdoh and H S Thangkhiew.

As the petitioners are residing in Assam, the HC directed the the Director General of Police, Assam to take appropriate steps "through the the officers-in-charge of the local police stations and the Superintendents of Police of the relevant districts to ensure the safety and security of the petitioners, their family members and lawyers representing such petitioners".

The Advocate General appearing for the state of Meghalaya submitted that communication has been made with the police authorities in Assam to take appropriate steps against persons based in Assam who may be the masterminds behind the illegal operation of coal mining and coke oven plants in Meghalaya.