Reprimanding the state, the Manipur High Court on Tuesday directed the Advocate General to file a comprehensive tabulated statement giving details of the FIRs with regard to seizure of vehicles in the illegal sand mining case this June.
The court found that except for a seizure memo, no FIR was filed in relation to the seized vehicles in the illegal sand mining case.
Following it, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice MV Muralidaran directed the AG to file a statement giving details of the FIRs by October 17 and the provisions of law under which they have been registered.
“The High Court is at a loss to understand as to how the police authorities failed to register a FIR at the time of seizure of the vehicles and deemed it sufficient to issue a seizure memo with nothing further,” stated the division bench of the HC.
The HC had earlier directed the AG to file a comprehensive tabulated statement on September 6 however, on September 20, the advocate general appeared for the state authorities and sought some more time to file the statement.
The HC granted time to file the statement without fail by the next date of hearing on October 17.
The PIL was taken up by the High Court on a letter addressed to the Chief Justice, High Court of Manipur by Thoubal River Conservation Committee citing many grievances.
One of the grievances stated that Thoubal River has been providing a large number of villages with water since time immemorial but because of the sand mining, the river has become muddy and putrid rendering its water unfit for consumption.
While, on further proceedings of the PIL before the HC, an amicus curiae informed the High Court that the state government is still in the process of making certain amendments to the Rules relating to sand mining and its transport.
Following the PIL of re-preservation of Thoubal river on July 7, the Director General of Police, Manipur issued an order that a police team led by an officer not below the rank of ASI to monitor/survey and inspect mining activities round the clock in his/her jurisdiction constituted and submit daily reports about the mining activities to the head of the Dedicated Police Task Force (DPTF) of the district.
In turn, the head of the DPTF of the district is to submit monthly compliance reports to the Police Headquarters, the DGP said.
Advocate general, Manipur stated that the police authorities would be sensitized at all levels to ensure that offences are registered under the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development Act, 1957) in addition to the offences under the Indian Penal Code.
The AG further stated that necessary steps would be taken to amend the Rules and the Forms prescribed thereunder, so as to bring clarity on the issue.
The AG had on August 30, placed on record the amendments proposed to be made in ‘The Manipur Minor Mineral Concession Rule, 2012’ and ‘The Manipur Mineral Policy, 2021’. He stated that the Forms appended to the Rules would also be suitably amended.
The AG would inform the High Court that appropriate steps would be taken to register offences under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, in all the cases where vehicles were seized, the AG stated.