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Jammu and Kashmir High Court disposes of PIL seeking to restrain the operation of stone crusher

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed to command the official respondents to restrain the private respondent from operating the stone crusher and extracting stones from the nallah bed.

Initially the petitioners filed the writ petition on 20.12.2010 seeking, besides other prayers, to command the official respondents to restrain the private respondent from operating the stone crusher and extracting stones from the nallah bed, which petition later on came to be registered as a Public Interest Litigation vide order dated 13.12.2017. Objections to the petition came to be filed in the year 2011.  

The Division Bench of Chief Justice (Acting) Tashi Rabstan and Justice Rejesh Sekhri noted that the issues raised by the petitioners pertained to the year 2010. However, the things have been changed now as the Government of Jammu & Kashmir, Department of Mining, Civil Secretariat, Jammu has issued Notification S.O. 60 dated 23.02.2021, whereby the Government of J&K has made the Jammu and Kashmir Stone Crushers/Hot and Wet Mixing Plants Regulation Rules, 2021, Rule 3(3) whereof is required to be reproduced hereunder:

“3. General Requirements.-(1) ……. 
(2) ……. 
(3) Stone Crusher/Hot and Wet Mixing Plant shall establish/operate only on securing: 
(i) Consent to establish/operate from the Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board issued as per the procedure/guidelines and sitting criteria prescribed by the Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board. 
(ii) No objection Certificate from Deputy Commissioner concerned regarding title verification of land and its usage; and 
(iii) Registration with the District Industries Centre (DIC) if the unit holder intends to avail any incentives available in the Industrial Policy.”  

Therefore, in view of making of the Jammu and Kashmir Stone Crushers/Hot and Wet Mixing Plants Regulation Rules, 2021, the Bench deemed it proper to dispose of the PIL with a direction to official respondents to examine whether the owners of Stone Crushers in general and private respondent  in particular have been following the mandate of S.O. 60 or not. 

The Bench clarified that if owners of Stone Crushers as well as private respondent  are not following the mandate of S.O. 60, action in terms of admissible provisions as on today be taken against them. Petitioners are also at liberty to approach the concerned authority, if private respondent  is still operating the Stone Crusher illegally without following the due process , the Court ordered.

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