15 Jan 2022 1:22 PM GMT
The Madras High Court recently expressed its concern over long pendency of cases involving large scale revenue.Justice S.M Subramaniam observed that cases of Income Tax, Customs, Excise, Mines and Minerals etc. must be disposed of quickly to prevent misuse of nation's property.Talking about the skewed tactics employed by stakeholders in keeping the writ petitions pending, so as to reap...
The Madras High Court recently expressed its concern over long pendency of cases involving large scale revenue.
Justice S.M Subramaniam observed that cases of Income Tax, Customs, Excise, Mines and Minerals etc. must be disposed of quickly to prevent misuse of nation's property.
Talking about the skewed tactics employed by stakeholders in keeping the writ petitions pending, so as to reap undue benefits of interim orders in force, the court added the following:
"The growing tendency on writ side is that such writ petitions involving large scale revenue, more specifically, Income Tax, Customs, Excise, Mines and Minerals etc., interim orders are in force for several years and the Nation's properties are being looted or misused or taken undue advantage of. Such a situation is absolutely unconstitutional and further anything under the earth belongs to the Government and it is the Nation's property, which belongs to 'We the People of India'. Thus, no one can be allowed to extract without adhering to the Act, Rules and Regulations and any violations are to be treated seriously and all these persons must be liable for all consequences."
The observation was made while adjudicating upon a plea for grant of transport permits for mining and transporting mined minerals to one of the factories of the Petitioner Company, Dalmia Refractories Limited.
The court also remarked that a duty is cast upon the state to file counter-affidavits and vacate stay petitions immediately in such writ petitions involving State Revenue. The bench also opined that the High Court must be considerate about disposing of such writ petitions entertained immediately.
More than often, the filed writ petitions are not even listed for hearing before the court, which must be taken note of by the Registrar General of Madras High Court, the bench added.
"…There are several allegations that these writ petitions are not listed on account of bundles misplaced or on various other reasons, including corrupt activities and if these things are noticed, then serious actions are to be initiated against all officials, who all are responsible for lapses, negligence and dereliction of duty", the court underlined about the prevailing issue.
The court opined that the Grouping Section functioning in the High Court must collect large scale revenue cases pending for years. Thereafter, the Registry should place those cases before the Chief Justice for expeditious disposal.
"…Considering the fact that large scale State Revenues are in stake and many persons are taking undue advantage of the pendency of the writ petitions for unjust gains, which can never be tolerated and allowed by the Courts. Thus, the Registrar General of the Madras High Court is directed to issue appropriate instructions to the Registry to collect all those writ petitions, where large scale State and Central Revenues are involved and list those matters, without causing any undue delay by obtaining necessary orders from the Hon'ble The Chief Justice, if necessary by constituting Special Benches for speedy disposal of those cases."
On the merits of the case, it was directed that the petitioner-Company is at liberty to submit all the required documents, including the Environmental Clearance Certificate and comply with the norms and requirements as contemplated under the law, enabling the Authorities to consider the case of the petitioner for grant of lease.
Accordingly, the writ petition was disposed of.
Advocate Rahul Balaji appeared for Petitioner Company, Advocate General R Shanmugasundaram assisted by Advocate K.M.D Muhilan appeared for Tamil Nadu Industries Department and Commissioner for Geology and Mining, whereas Senior Central Government Standing Counsel B. Rabu Manohar represented the Union Ministry of Mines.
Case Title: Dalmia Refractories Limited v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.
Case No: WP No.36418 of 16 & WMP No.1031 of 2017
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 17
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