SC directs state to take action against mining lease violators

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court, Wednesday, directed the state government to examine the report of the two-member committee constituted by the apex court and take appropriate action against the mining lease holders who have violated the mining rules.

A bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde and comprising Justices Surya Kant and BR Gavai heard two issues pertaining to mining lease in excess of limit and transfer of interest held in mining leases. The bench directed that the report of the committee be placed before the state of Odisha to determine whether the facts and conclusions disclosed by the committee are appropriate for the state government to take action against mining lease holders.

The apex court also gave liberty to the lessees and the petitioner to approach the state government regarding the contentions arising out of the committee report.

“We are inclined to accept the report of the committee however we find that some of the facts and conclusion of the report are still in contention before us.In any case any view can only result in action (in respect of the mining lease holders) depending on whether they appear to have violated the aforesaid statutory section,” the bench said.

The Chief Justice’s bench also asserted that the violators of the Section 6 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 or of Rule 37 of Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, will be heard before any action is taken against them by the state government on the basis of the report.

It further stated that the state government may issue notice to lease holders as and when it may find necessary.

“The state government is entitled to take action against any violation,” the bench said.

Earlier, the committee comprising former Supreme Court judges, Justice Anil R Dave and Justice GS Singhvi, had submitted a report in the apex court in November last year.

The committee, which was asked to investigate the violation of mining laws by lessees, had submitted an eleven volume report to the apex court.

In the committee report, Meadeast Integrated Steel, Mala Roy and Kavita Agarwal have reportedly been found violating Rule 37 and the committee recommended cancellation of mining leases of these companies.

The committee was asked to investigate 13 lessees, accused of holding mining rights in excess of permissible limits by the apex court in the mining case.

The apex court, in its judgment dated August 2017, held that those mining-lease holders, who had extracted minerals either without or in excess of environment clearance, would be liable to deposit the mineral so raised with the state government.

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