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Courts can't stop Vizag steel plant privatisation?

Posted July 28th, 2021, 04:19 PM IST

Courts can't stop Vizag steel plant privatisation?

Even as the common people of Visakhapatnam and trade unions of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) are exploring all options, including moving the high court, to step the privatisation of the steel plant, the Narendra Modi government at the centre is unmoved.

While making it clear on the floor of the parliament that it is committed to 100 per cent privatisation of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, the Centre told the Andhra Pradesh state high court on Wednesday that the courts cannot interfere in the policy decisions of the government.

In a counter-affidavit filed in the high court, which is hearing a batch of petitions including that of former CBI joint director V V Lakhminarayana, against the privatisation of the steel plant, Secretary to the Union government R K Singh explained in detail the powers of the Centre in taking the decision on privatisation.

“As such, the courts cannot interfere in such decisions. So, the court should dismiss all the petitions filed challenging the privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant,” Singh said.

He argued that the decision to disinvest in the steel plant for 100 percent privatisation was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on January 27 this year.

“The centre has powers to take decisions pertaining to the economic issues of the country and the courts cannot interfere in these matters,” he said.

The Union secretary referred to the previous judgements of the Supreme Court on such issues.

“The CCEA comprises top policy makers like Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Home Minister, Corporate Affairs Minister, Steel Minister and Petroleum Minister. Their decision is final,” he asserted.

The affidavit clearly indicates that the Centre is firm on privatisation of the steel plant and it would not succumb to any pressures from any quarters to withdraw the move.