The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the Centre's as well as the Jharkhand government's stand on a plea by the Indian arm of ArcelorMittal challenging the rejection of its application for a mining lease for its proposed Rs 50,000 crore project in the state.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao issued notice to the Ministry of Environment as also the state seeking their responses to the plea which sought directions to the Centre to finalise a mining plan for the Saranda forest division in west Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.
ArcelorMittal has sought relief in its appeal against the high court's single judge order disposing of its plea challenging the Centre's January 11, 2017 decision to reject its application for the mining lease in connection with the proposed project to mine iron ore and manganese in the dense forest area.
The single judge had disposed of the company's plea saying an alternate remedy was available under the Forest Conservation Act to appeal against the Centre's decision.
ArcelorMittal is a Luxembourg-based multinational firm engaged in steel manufacturing.
In its appeal, the company has contended that since the decision was taken by the Centre there was no scope of appeal under the Forest Conservation (FC) Act and the only available remedy was to challenge the decision through a writ petition.
The high court listed the matter for further hearing on October 29 by when the Centre and the state government have to indicate their respective stands on the issue.
According to the petition, the Centre had in 2008 approved grant of mining lease to the company subject to it fulfilling certain conditions, including forest clearance.
However, the Forest Advisory Committee, set up under the FC Act, and later the Centre had rejected the company's application for a mining lease as the site in question fell under a reserved forest area.
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