Herald: SC’s judgement ‘misinterpreted’ by Goa Foundation: Advocate General

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SC’s judgement ‘misinterpreted’ by Goa Foundation: Advocate General

05 May 2018 07:39am IST

Report by
BASURI DESAI

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05 May 2018 07:39am IST

Report by
BASURI DESAI

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Govt and mining companies say transportation is always considered as part of mining activity and not mining operations. BASURI DESAI delves deeper into the State’s defence against the SC order

Supreme Court’s judgment is been “misinterpreted” and “misconceived” by the petitioner Goa Foundation, the State Government had argued before the Bombay High Court at Goa. Unless there is statutory provision or specific directions from the Apex Court that the iron ore excavated for last three years is illegal and that it vests with State, there cannot be stay on the transportation of ore, lying outside the lease area, Advocate General of Goa Dattaprasad Lawande had argued.

The respondents   both State Government and the Mining Companies   pointed out before the division bench that the petitioner is trying to offend the statutory interpretation by putting across that the Supreme Court itself was not aware about the distinction between the mining operation, mining activities, mining related activities and transportation.

The respondents have banked their arguments on the Supreme Court judgment dated October 5, 2012 in the Goa Foundation matter, wherein it specifically directed the leaseholders to stop all the mining operations and transportations with immediate effect. Whereas, the recent February 7 order only speaks about stopping mining operations from March 16 onwards.

AG has submitted that the till the time State comes out with a policy to grant fresh mining leases, the leaseholders are asked to undertake the mining safety measures at the sites ahead of onset of monsoon.

Lawande said that the directions of the State government are very clear that the ore for which royalty is paid and is lying outside the lease area on or before March 15, only that ore can be transported and not any other ore. 

“Unless there is statutory provision or specific directions from the Apex Court that the iron ore excavated for last three years is illegal and that it vests with State, there cannot be stay on the transportation of ore, lying outside the lease area,” he said.

“If the court establish that the excavation of ore from 2015 to March 15, 2018 is illegal than we will stop the transportation immediately,” AG said in his submission adding that once the ore is taken out of the mining lease area by paying the royalty, the ore legitimately belongs to the person who had paid the royalty.  

He said that the transportation is always considered as part of mining activity and not mining operations.  The petitioner has misinterpreted and misconceived the Supreme Court judgment. The Supreme Court has consciously used the word mining operation as they were very well aware about the definition and the implications. The petitioner too is also conscious of the fact what is mining operation, mining activities and transportation, but still deliberately trying to misinterpret it,” State said.

Further laying stress on the fact that mining operation and transportation are two distinct concepts, AG said that the mining operations means operation undertaken for mining of mineral within the lease bound areas and for which specific licence/ permit is granted. Whereas the transportation is always outside the lease area and does not form part and parcel of the condition laid down for mining operations. “Is petitioner trying to suggest that the Supreme Court was not aware about these definitions? The Apex Court was very much aware about the implication of all these constitutional terms and hence consciously used the word mining operation,” he said. 

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