Manohar Lal Sharma vs The Principle Secretary & Others, Writ Petition (Crl) No. 120 of 2012 and Writ Petition (C) No. 463 & 515 of 2012 & 283 of 2013
The Supreme Court in an attempt to bring much needed transparency in the coal sector, vide its order dated 24 September 2014, cancelled 214 coal block allocations, as the said allocations made by the Screening Committee of the Government of India and the allotments made through the Government dispensation route that had been in place since 1993, were declared arbitrary and illegal by the Supreme Court in its earlier judgment dated 25 August 2014 passed in the same matter.
The Supreme Court in reference to its earlier judgement dated 25 August 2014 categorically stated that - “Our judgment highlighted the illegality and arbitrariness in the allotment of coal blocks and these “consequence proceedings” are intended to correct the wrong done by the Union of India; these proceedings look to the future in that by highlighting the wrong, it is expected that the Government will not deal with the natural resources that belong to the country as if they belong to a few individuals who can fritter them away at their sweet will; these proceedings may also compensate the exchequer for the loss caused to it, in the manner suggested by the learned Attorney General, and which we now propose to consider.”
Out of the 214 cancelled allotments, 42 coal blocks with end-use plants that were already functional or were about to become functional, have been allowed a six-month window to wind down their operations i.e. till 31 March 2015. The Supreme Court also directed the allottees of the coal blocks other than those covered by the judgment and the four coal blocks covered by the order to pay an amount of INR 295 per metric ton of the coal extracted as an additional levy, within a period of three months and in any case on or before 31 December 2014.
Swan Gold Mining Limited vs. Hindustan Copper Limited, Civil Appeal No. 9048 of 2014 (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 10849 of 2013)
The Supreme Court in its recent judgment dated 22 September 2014 in relation to an arbitral award challenged under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Act) has held that the parties entering into concluded contract, agreeing to the terms and conditions of the said contract, which was finally acted upon, cannot back out and challenge the award on the ground that the same is against the public policy.
In the Instant case, the Appellant had challenged the award under Section 34 of the Act before the Learned Single Judge of the Calcutta High Court on the ground inter alia, that the same is in conflict with the public policy of India. The Appellant’s challenge before the Learned Single Judge and the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court stood dismissed.
The Supreme Court while dismissing the Civil Appeal also observed that the term ‘public policy of India’ is required to be interpreted in the context of jurisdiction of the Court where the validity of award is challenged before it becomes final and executable.