Abuse Of Administrative Discretion While Allotting Captive Coal Mines In Coalgate Scam
Devamshu Behl, O.P Jindal Global University
Discretion is the power to decide or act according to one’s judgement when there are multiple options available1 and often due to either the emergency situations or due to the impact of the contemporary philosophy of ‘welfare State' as ours ,where the social contract2 is between the citizens and state is such that latter has to protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of the of the former, , a phenomenon generally discernible where a large amount of discretion is vested in the hands of the administrative authorities.3 Now being a welfare state the administrative authorities should act for the interest of the citizens however as it was seen in the case of Coalgate Scam, this discretion isn’t always used to meet the right ends.
Coalgate Scam was a major political scam which was concerned with the UPA Governments allocation of our nations coal reserve deposits to various private companies and public sector undertakings in a susceptible manner. In the draft report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India, government was accused of allocating the coal blocks in inefficient manner which costed out government approximately 1,856 billion rupees. There was a loss of this quantum as rather than doing transparent and fair bidding of the coal blocks, they were given on recommendation and hence the Private and Public companies paid much less than what they would have if there was competitive bidding.