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Opinion

‘Shocking’: Deputy High Court Supports Illegal Miners Who Paid Fine

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On Thursday, the Supreme Court urged the Center and states to take a tough approach against illegal mining, calling the Madhya Pradesh government of supporting the claim of some offenders as “very surprising.” The high court was offended that the MP government wanted offenders not to face criminal proceedings just because they had paid monetary fines.

“We are of the opinion that violators cannot be allowed to go free with only the payment of a fine. There must be some strict provisions that can have a deterrent effect so that offenders think twice before committing such crimes and before causing damage to the land and nature, ”said a Supreme Court bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan.

To the author of the sentence, Judge MR Shah reminded the State that it is the custodian of mines and minerals in the country, and said that it must be more sensitive to protect the ecological balance by ensuring severe action against offenders.

He noted that although the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act) empowered the state to withdraw prosecution for illegal mining after imposing fines, it would do well to acknowledge the growing concern about environmental damage and its serious consequences. consequences. .

The observations came as the high court dismissed a handful of appeals to annul up to 14 FIRs registered in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district against illegal sand mining and transportation. Although the FIR was presented in a directive from the judicial magistrate in question, the offenders proceeded to settle the charges under the MMDR Act by paying pecuniary fines. These requests were dismissed by the higher court.

The state government, which had initially supported the magistrate’s order on the FIRs, took a 180-degree turn before the Supreme Court and said the indictment under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for theft and concealment of stolen property did not you can continue after these offenders have already settled the case by coughing up fines.

The court called the state government’s support for “offenders” “very surprising,” and held that criminal prosecution under the IPC is independent of conciliation procedures under the MMDR Act.

The court said that even if a state government decides to drop the cases under the MMDR Act, the investigation under the IPC will continue in accordance with the law.

The court, therefore, allowed the charges to be dropped under Section 23A of the MMDR Act, but clarified that the prosecution for theft, etc. It will continue at 14 FIR.

Hindustan Times

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