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MAR 13 2015

Heres the rub. Large parts of a Coal Ministry file are in pencil

  • Economic Times, ET Bureau / Hyderabad
  • Created: Fri 13th MAR 2015

Do the Babus of the Coal Ministry need pens? It would seem so because, according to the Delhi High Court, key records are in pencil.

The issue came to light when the court was hearing a petition filed by Jindal Power & Steel challenging the Centre’s decision to change the end-use norm of the Utkal B-1 coal block in Odisha.

The court found extensive portions of a file, detailing the formation and deliberations of a technical committee that laid the basic tenets of the coal auction process, in pencil.

This is unusual, as it leaves scope for erasing and altering of the records by officials.

“The learned counsel for the Union of India had handed over two files — (1) File No.43020/06/2014-CPAM [dealing with constitution of the Technical Committee and record notes of its meetings and related matters] and (2) File No.43020/06/2014-CPAM-Work Sheet [containing data sheets and work sheets for deliberations of the Technical Committee] — for our consideration. We may point out that the first file (as handed over to us) has page numbers 1 to 7A in ink and the rest (8 to 143) in pencil,” the court’s February 11 order said.

“There are some other pages after page 143 which bear no page number and therefore it is not known as to whether they form part of the contemporaneous record or not. The file also had 13 pages of notes (green sheets) from 29/10/2014 to 07/01/2015,” the Division Bench of Justices Dureez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said.


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