More than 200 coal mining licences awarded between 1993 and 2010 in India have been declared illegal by the nation’s Supreme Court.
It said the rights given to state and private companies to mine coal during that period were “not fair and transparent” and didn’t include a competitive bidding process.
The Court will now examine whether 218 of the licences should be cancelled.
It was quoted as saying: “All coal block allocations since 1993 till 2010 before pre-auction era have been done in an illegal manner.”
Reports claim the ruling caused sharp falls in the share prices of companies such as Tata Steel.
India is one of the largest producers of coal in the world and more than half of its commercial energy needs are said to be met by coal.