he Supreme Court reiterated that environmental clearance cannot have any retrospective effect and it is operational from the date it is granted, considering the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) report on illegalities involved in the mining lease of Sarda Mines Private Limited (SMPL).
The bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta was dealing with submissions made on behalf of SMPL.
“Resultantly, the operation of the environmental clearance though granted for the life of the mining lease would necessarily be curtailed to the detriment of SMPL. This submission is noted only to be rejected. The submission made can hardly be a ground for giving retrospective effect to the environmental clearance. If the life of the environmental clearance is curtailed due to operation of the law, then so be it,” the bench said.
The bench added, “We leave it to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to quantify the penalty to be imposed on SMPL from 22nd September, 2004 and based on the
terms of the environmental clearance. The calculation should also take into
consideration our conclusion that the environmental clearance is not retrospective
and the first year of production, in view of the environmental clearance granted
to SMPL would be 2004-2005. Any mining in excess of the environmental clearance by SMPL would be and is illegal.”