Goa mining case makes its apex court comeback

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 18 2014, 09:45am hrs
Goa MiningThe HC had last month directed the Goa government to execute deeds for those mining leases which have paid stamp duty. (Reuters)
The issue of allowing mines to resume operations in Goa has once again reached the Supreme Court. An NGO has challenged the Bombay High Courts order that sanctioned renewal of 27 iron ore mining leases, including that of Sesa Sterlite, Fomento Resources and VM Salgaocar.

The HC had last month directed the Goa government to execute deeds for those mining leases which have paid stamp duty according to the Indian Stamp (Goa Amendment) Act, 2012, and also asked the state to expeditiously decide on the renewal of applications of the lease holders who have not paid the stamp duty, preferably within three months.

Alleging that the HCs directions appear to be at variance with the directions issued by the SC, Goa Foundation, the petitioner, said the renewal of the 27 leases would allow several tainted mining firms indicted by the Justice MB Shah Commission of Inquiry to operate the same mining tracts.

The Goa government had collected the stamp duty from these 27 mining leases, much before the SC judgment which had raised question mark on the non-renewed leases through its judgment in April. While the SC had imposed ban on mining in the state in September 2012, it subsequently lifted it in April 2014 but rendered all mining leases in Goa invalid from 2007 and all mining carried out in these leases illegal.