Delhi HC rejects KPC plea for block coal

Bhubaneswar: In a significant judgment, the Delhi High Court today upheld the Centre`s decision cancelling the allocation of coal block to Kalinga Power Corporation (KPC) pointing out that the Supreme Court has "frowned upon" the `first come first serve` principle for proper utilisation of the country`s resources in the 2-G spectrum case.

The Coal Ministry had revoked the allocation because despite almost two decades after being given the coal block in 1993 for its proposed 500 megawatt thermal power plant in Odisha, the project of the KPC remained non-existent. KPC was allocated Utkal-A captive block in 1993 for supply of coal as raw material for its proposed thermal plant at Duburi. A decade after, on July 2003, a high-level committee of the Union Coal Ministry de-allocated the coal block permission.   

Strangely the company had applied for permission to sale the block coal in the open market.  The Kalinga Power Corporation moved the court after the particular block coal was allocated to Jindal Thermal Power and Jindals Vijayanagar Steel Ltd. The company had argued that the block coal should be allocated in its favour since it was granted to it as the first bidder.

The Delhi High Court however today turned down the appeal of the KPC and observed that public trust doctrines like `first come first serve` principle enjoins upon the Government to protect the "resources for enjoyment of general public rather than to permit their use for private ownership or commercial purpose".