Valley News Desk

Srinagar, July 18: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has granted Director General of Mines Safety,

Government of India, Director of Mines Safety and Regional Controller of Mines, Indian Bureau of Mines, six weeks time to comply with its orders in a Public Interest Litigation and warned them over non-compliance.

“Despite grant of final opportunity and imposition of costs in terms of order of this Court dated 18.03.2020 there is no appearance on behalf of (them),” a bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar said.

The court had granted four weeks time to them for filing a response to the PIL, failing which they were liable to pay payment of costs of Rs.25000.

“Neither counter affidavit has been filed nor there is any representation on their behalf. We will give the benefit to these respondents of the difficult situation on account of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the court said and issued notice to them to ensure compliance with the court’s order dated March 18 this year within six weeks. “In case the respondents fail to comply with this order, we shall be constrained to pass adverse orders in the matter on the next date of hearing,” the court said and ordered listing of the case on August 17.

The Public Interest Litigation was filed in 2016 in respect of various “serious matters” regarding the working of the Mines Act, 1952; Mines and Minerals Development Regulations Act 1957; the Metalliferous Mines Regulations 1961, the court had observed in one of the previous hearings.

“Several violations by all mine owners and failure to ensure the safety protection and rights of the labourers employed for mining activity by the mine owners have been noticed,” the court had said.

The concerned authorities, court had observed, are unable to inform the about the measures which are in place to ensure the safety and security of the workers in the mines as well as the compliances with the statute, rules and regulations.

“There is no clarity even on the issues as to what are the responsibilities of the Centre and the (J&K) Authorities.”

The petitioner has also complained of environmental degradation and the adverse impact on the ecology, landscape and the habitation because of the indiscriminate and illegal mining activity.

“The matter raised petition is of very serious concern as is manifested from the several orders passed by this Court,” the court had observed. (GNS)