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SC Allows Goa Mining Companies To Transport Minerals Already Extracted Before March 15, 2018 [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
31 Jan 2020 5:37 AM GMT
SC Allows Goa Mining Companies To Transport Minerals Already Extracted Before March 15, 2018 [Read Judgment]
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The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the mining companies in Goa to transport all iron ores which were extracted before March 15, 2018 and for which royalty has been paid.A bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, Justices Surya Kant and B R Gavai passed the order in a bunch of petitions filed by mining companies. In February 2018, the SC had quashed all iron ore mining leases in Goa in...

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The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the mining companies in Goa to transport all iron ores which were extracted before March 15, 2018 and for which royalty has been paid.

A bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, Justices Surya Kant and B R Gavai passed the order in a bunch of petitions filed by mining companies. 

In February 2018, the SC had quashed all iron ore mining leases in Goa in Goa Foundation case and had given time till March 15, 2018 to complete their "affairs".

The question which arose before the Court now was whether those mining companies can be permitted to transport the ores which were extracted before that cut-off date.

The Bombay High Court (Goa bench) held that transportation of mineral cannot be permitted beyond March 15, 2018 as the SC had ordered that all "affairs" had to be completed by then.

"…According to our respectful interpretation thus, when the Supreme Court mandated five weeks' time for arranging the affairs, it meant completion of transportation as well", the HC had held.

Considering the appeals against this decision, the bench headed by CJI noted that the same bench in the Goa Foundation case, which quashed the mining leases, had passed orders in April 2018 to permit the companies to transport the already extracted iron ores.

The bench also noted that the Rule 12(1)(gg) of the Minerals (Other than Atomic and Hydro Carbons Energy Minerals) Concession Rules, 2016 allow time of six months after the termination of mining lease to remove the extracted minerals.

In this backdrop, the Court set aside the HC judgment, allowing the the transportation of the minerals extracted prior to March 15, 2018 in respect of such which royalty has been paid.  

"Taking into consideration the legislative policy as contained in clause (gg) of Rule 12(1) of the said Rules, we direct that all such transportation shall be completed within a period of six months from today", the Court added.  

Mining had been suspended in the State of Goa in October, 2012, after a one-man judicial commission headed by former Bombay HC CJ Justice MB Shah  had found that iron ore was being extracted illegally. These were, however, renewed in 2015 for the second time by the State for 20 years, with retrospective effect from 2007.

On February 7, 2018, a bench comprising Justice M.B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta quashed the leases on finding that they were issued illegally.

 

Case Details
Case Title : Chowgule and Company Private Ltd v Goa Foundation and others
Case No   : Civil Appeal No. 839/2020
Coram      : CJI SA Bobde, Justices Surya Kant and B R Gavai
Appearances : Senior Advs Mukul Rohatgi, Gourab Banerji, Adv Yashraj Singh Deora for appellants; ASGs N S Nadkarni, Vikramjeet Banerjee for State of Goa and Union of India respectively; Adv Prashant Bhushan for Goa Foundation.

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