A Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi today took objection to the request by the Central government to transfer a case to the Bench hearing the Coal scam matter..The Bench also comprising Justice R Banumathi minced no words in its order stating,.“The prayer made on behalf of the Union of India for assignment of these cases to the Coal Bench, therefore, does not prima facie appear to be correct and tenable. Whether it is bonafide or not is an exercise we do not consider it necessary or feasible to undertake”.The case pertains to invocation of bank guarantee against the petitioner, M/s. Strategic Energy Technology Systems Pvt Ltd. The petitioner company had been allocated coal block. For not achieving the milestones in the preparatory work, the bank guarantee to the extent of about Rs. 55 crores furnished by the petitioner was invoked and the amount credited to the coffers of the Union of India..Meanwhile, in ‘Manohar Lal Sharma vs. Principal Secretary and Others’ reported in (2014) 9 SCC 516, the Coal Block allocation both through Screening Committee Route as well as Government Dispensation Route were set aside by the Supreme Court..The petitioner approached the High Court of Delhi seeking a return of the amount of the Bank Guarantee. It was contended by the petitioner before the High Court that as the coal block allocations were per se found to be illegal all actions thereunder including the furnishing and invocation of the bank guarantee must be understood to be non est in law. The High Court did not reject the said contention of the petitioner but directed that the petitioner should approach the civil Court. Aggrieved by this, the petitioner appealed to the Supreme Court..As per today’s order of the Court, extensive arguments had taken place in the case when an oral contention was advanced by Ms. Pinky Anand, learned Additional Solicitor General, that the matter should be heard by the Coal Bench. Noting the same, the court on January 16, 2018 directed that the said request be put in the form of an application..“Extensive arguments have taken place and have almost been completed. At that stage an oral contention was advanced by Ms. Pinky Anand, learned Additional Solicitor General, that the matter should be heard by the Coal Bench. By order dated 16.01.2018, this Court directed that the said prayer made orally be put in the form of an application to be filed by the competent authority of the Union of India.”.Pursuant to that order, an affidavit was filed by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Coal, wherein it was mentioned that the matter be listed before the Coal Bench. A reply was filed by the petitioner opposing the said prayer..The Court then proceeded to answer the Central government’s request on merits. It stated at the outset that the matter does not pertain to Coal block bench..“Prima facie, we are of the view that the matter does not pertain to the Coal Block Bench. This is on account of the following reasons:.The issue whether the matter pertains to the Coal Bench was not raised before the High Court or even before this Court at an appropriate point of time. In fact, from the materials on record it appears that several bank-guarantees of similar kind have been invoked or proposed to be invoked leading to litigations, similar to the present one, which are presently pending in Delhi High Court. In none of the said proceedings the issue of the matter being relatable to the Coal Bench has been raised by the Union of India. This is evident from the reply of the petitioner.”.The Court then adverted to the judgment in Coal block case wherein the Court after cancelling the coal block allocation had ordered that there would be subsequent hearing in order to decide the consequences of the cancellation..Subsequently, after further hearing the Court had passed an order reported in (2014) 9 SCC 614. Placing reliance on paragraphs 4,5, 6,7 and 8 of the same, the Court observed that bank guarantee is not one of the “consequence proceedings” referred to in the order of this Court..“Further more, from the reply filed by the petitioner, it appears that the only matter of Coal Block Allocation pending before this Court is a Writ Petition (Criminal) No.120 of 2012 wherein the scope and pendency of criminal investigation presently undertaken by the CBI is in seisin of this Court.”.The Court, therefore, made it clear that the prayer made on behalf of the Union of India for assignment of these cases to the Coal Bench is not prima facie correct and tenable. It also observed that it does not wish to go into the bona fides of the request made by the Centre..“The prayer made on behalf of the Union of India for assignment of these cases to the Coal Bench, therefore, does not prima facie appear to be correct and tenable. Whether it is bonafide or not is an exercise we do not consider it necessary or feasible to undertake.”.The Court stated that it is not inclined to hear the matter and directed that the matter be placed before the Chief Justice of India for assigning to appropriate Bench..Read the order below.