India’s Supreme Court has asked the Union Steel Ministry to clarify its stand on a plea by miners from Karnataka, seeking a direction to lift the ban on iron ore export from the state. A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana sought the Ministry's reply on whether sufficient iron ore is available for the domestic market, and whether it is feasible to permit the export of iron ore mined from Karnataka. Chief Justice asked Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj “What is the stand of the Ministry of Steel? Is sufficient iron ore available in the domestic market, and will you support export of iron ore?”The bench noted that the Mines Ministry has supported the demand of the miners, however petitioner NGO Samaj Parivartan Samudaya, represented by advocate Mr Prashant Bhushan, has objected to it, claiming that the Steel Ministry has not made its stand so far. Mr Bhushan submitted that the Steel Ministry has maintained its stand that there is shortage of iron ore for the domestic steel industry, therefore its export should not be allowed.In April 2013, Supreme Court imposed the ban on export of iron ore from Karnataka's three districts and fixed the maximum permissible annual production limit. Senior advocate Mr Dushyant Dave, representing the miners, pressed that this banning of exports from Karnataka should be modified and there is no need for an affidavit from the Steel Ministry, and the ban should be lifted. Counsel submitted the cap was placed ten years ago, as the apex court had found rampant illegal mining and also iron ore was being exported without fulfilling the domestic requirement.The bench also noted that there is no restriction in other parts of the country on iron ore export.