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Bombay High Court issues notice on PIL alleging sand policy violates directions given by Supreme Court

The Bombay High Court issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed alleging that sand policy violates the directions given by the Supreme Court.

The contention of the Petitioner is that the sand policy which is questioned ,  issued as per the notification dated 28.01.2022 violates the directions given by the Supreme Court in the case of Deepak Kumar, etc. Vs. State of Haryana and ors. reported in AIR 2012 SC 1386, which has been followed by a Coordinate Bench of the High Court in the case of Khemchand Nemichand Kosare Vs. State of Mah. And ors. reported in WP No. 6305 of 2013 decided on 02.07.2014 and also in the case of Jai Gajanan Shri Gajanan Building Material Suppliers, through its Proprietor, Shri Dilip vs State of Maharashtra, through it’s Secretary and anr reported in 2022 SCC Online Bom 115. 

It is pointed out that in these cases, the Apex Court and also different Benches of the High Court have time and again emphasized upon the need for having a sand mining policy which strikes the balance between human needs and environmental needs so that the idea of sustainable development is promoted which envisages bringing as much benefit to the human beings as is necessary for their basic needs and developmental needs while protecting the nature so that the nature can also take care of the needs of future generations of human beings. 

It is further pointed out that one of the key directions issued in Deepak Kumar (supra) followed in Khemchand (supra) and Jai Gajanan (supra) was that no notice of auction of lease of sand ghats be issued without first obtaining environmental clearance of the area sought to be auctioned of.

It is submitted that this key direction has been violated in the rules and policy dated 28.01.2022. Some other violations have also been pointed out.  

It is also submitted that at the same time, there is a need for promoting alternatives available to natural sand such as M-sand, Artificial sand and Imported sand, as provided for in the Sand Mining Framework, which lays down in general a policy for sand mining, issued by Ministry of Mines Government of India.  

The Nagpur Division Bench of Justice Sunil B. Shukre and Justice M.W. Chandwani, while observing that the issues raised in the petition require consideration by the High Court, issued notice to the respondents.

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