HC upholds Govt’s policy on setting up stone crushers as ‘valid legislation’

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Srinagar, Mar 3: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has upheld as "valid legislation" the “policy” framed by the government with regard to setting up of stone crushers observing that this had liberalised the establishment of stone crusher units in Jammu and Kashmir.

“….in the light of the settled legal position, it can safely be concluded that the policy framed by the government vide SO 60 is a valid piece of legislation and cannot be interfered, which has in a way liberalized the establishment of stone crusher units,” a bench of Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal said at the Jammu wing of the High Court.

The court made the observation while dismissing a plea by inhabitants of Sheva, Shirshu, Brana Gulmuna, and Barhdrana against setting up of a stone crusher in Doda district.

“It goes without saying that the growth of the country and infrastructural development, the stone crusher industry plays a pivotal role and without operating the same, the development of the country will come to a standstill,” the court said.

"Thus the challenge of the petitioner (inhabitants) to the standing order (SO 60 dated February 23, 2021, falls flat and in absence of any legal foundation and basis to challenge the vires of the said SO, the writ petition deserves dismissal," the court held.

The inhabitants had approached the court in the representative capacity and in their plea questioned the validity of the SO 60 issued by the J&K’s Department of Geology and Mining.

They had contended that the SO was in violation of the directions issued by the Division Bench of High Court in PIL (No 794/2009) titled Muhammad Maqbool Lone versus State and others.

They said SO 60 was contrary to the various provisions of the environmental laws.

The petitioners had contended that the stone crusher was being installed very near to the main school of the village, and was in the middle of the villages Shirshu, Brana, Gulmuna, and Barhdrana.

The court observed that the petition was primarily based upon by the inhabitants by relying upon the provisions of SRO 302 of 2017 which had already been repealed by coming into force of SO 60 of 2021, wherein, the requirement of obtaining “No Objections Certificate” from different departments as well as the requirement with respect to the having minimum distances has been waived off for the purposes of establishing stone crusher by simplifying the procedure.

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