Supreme Court Halts New Mining Permits In Aravalli Range In Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, And Rajasthan

A committee is set up to define the Aravalli Hills uniformly.

by Mallika Khurana
Supreme Court Halts New Mining Permits In Aravalli Range In Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, And Rajasthan

The governments of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat have received a major directive from the Supreme Court instructing them to stop issuing new mining permits in the Aravalli region until further notice. The court’s decision is a result of its efforts to maintain a precarious balance between protecting the environment and maintaining the means of subsistence for individuals engaged in mining operations. 

Supreme Court Stops New Mining In Aravalli

Photo Credits: Canva

Crucially, the court made clear that its decision should not be interpreted as forbidding continued mining operations in the Aravalli range that have already been granted permission and licence in writing. This judicial action was prompted by the Haryana government’s request for permission to begin mining operations in the Aravallis in Gurugram and Faridabad. 

Justices B R Gavai and A S Oka, comprising the bench, underscored that while states housing the Aravalli range may continue to review and process applications for mining leases, they cannot finalise these permissions without explicit approval from the court. According to NDTV reports, the bench highlighted the rampant issue of illegal mining in the Aravallis. They also noted discrepancies in how different states define the hills and the range.

The court cited a report submitted by the Central Empowered Committee, which outlined numerous instances of illicit mining across Rajasthan. It expressed the need for collaborative action by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the four states. 

In a proactive move, the court mandated to form a committee. It will devise a uniform definition of the Aravalli Hills and range. This committee will comprise key stakeholders such as the ministry secretary, forest secretaries of the respective states, and representatives from relevant authorities. It is also expected to deliver its findings within two months.

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Protecting Both Environment And Livelihood

supreme court
Photo Credits: Canva

The court made it clear that mining operations will continue as usual, which is important because it means that the current auction processes will not be affected. Moreover, the directive’s reach is limited exclusively to mining operations within the Aravalli Range. It most definitely does not cover sand mining activities in Rajasthan, as per the NDTV reports.

The bench noted that many workers depend on mining as their primary source of income and focussed on the need to balance environmental preservation and developmental demands. Therefore, the court’s orders seek to find a way to protect the needs of environmental preservation as well as the interests of nearby communities that depend on mining.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva