Dismissing a couple of appeals by Kalinga Mining Corporation (KMC), the Supreme Court has held that legal heirs of a person, who applied for a mining lease, can pursue the plea even after the death of the original applicant.
In this case, KMC was granted a prospecting licence in September 1961 with respect to 480 acres in Kalaparbat Hill range of Keonjhar district of Jharkhand. However, its application for a mining lease for iron manganese ore over another 420 acres was not considered by the state government. Subsequent to this, the state government by a notification of July 1965, opened an area of 438.5 acres in Keonjhar district for mining under Rule 58(1) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, with respect to manganese and iron ore.
Six persons, including Sarojini Pradhan, applied for the lease. She died during the protracted litigation over the lease in the high court and the Supreme Court. Her legal heirs wanted them to be substituted in her place. Whilst this controversy between the parties about the abatement of the application of Pradhan for mining, as also the writ petition filed by her, was pending, Rule 25A was inserted in February 1991 in the Minor Concession Rules, 1961, permitting the legal representatives to continue pressing an application for grant of a mining lease even if the applicant dies.
KMC opposed it, contending that on the death of the original applicant, her application for mining lease abated and the legal heirs cannot pursue the application.
The High Court rejected the objection and allowed the substitution of legal heirs of Dr Pradhan to pursue the mining application.
Even the central government in September 2001 approved the recommendations of the state government for grant of mining lease in favour of the legal representatives. The Supreme Court endorsed the high courts view.
Land must be returned to owner if work is unfinished past the deadline
The Supreme Court has set aside the Rajasthan High Courts 2002 order that asked the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RIICO) to return the land given to Diamond & Gem Development Corporation Ltd (DGDCL) for developing an industrial estate for the manufacture of gem stones.
RIICO, which had acquired land for public purpose in three villages of Jaipur, had leased out the same to the company in 1989 with a clear stipulation that DGDCL must complete the project within five years. The development work was carried out at an extremely slow pace and even after the expiry of the stipulated period only 10% of the total construction stood completed. Thus, the lease deed was cancelled and possession of the land was taken back by the state corporation in 1996. This was challenged by the firm in the high court, which quashed the cancellation order and directed the restoration of possession of the land to the company. The state corporation approached the Supreme Court, which held that the company should have resorted to the arbitration clause provided in the lease deed or filed a review application before the competent authority.
Senior counsel Dhruv Mehta, appearing on behalf of RIICO, and Manish Singhvi, additional advocate general for the Rajasthan government, submitted that the cancellation of the deed was in accordance with the terms and conditions of the lease deed.
Senior counsel PS Patwalia, appearing for the company, submitted that the HC had rightly held that the state government became the lessor and that RIICO had no concern in relation to the matter, owing to which it had no competence to cancel the lease.
Evidence of subversive acts is needed to show inelligiblity on ideological grounds
Directing the Andhra Pradesh government and the states high court to consider afresh the candidature of advocate K Vijaylakshmi for the lower judiciary, the Supreme Court said that adverse police reports on political leanings cannot be the sole basis for denying employment.
For such disqualification, there must be clear evidence of the candidates involvement in subversive activities, it said, while allowing the appeal of Vijaylakshmi, who had challenged Andhra HCs March 2009 ruling that upheld the state governments decision not to appoint her as a civil judge in Prakasham district on the basis of intelligence reports.
According to the apex court, denying public employment just because of a police report would amount to offending the fundamental rights under Articles 14 (equality before law) and 16 (equal opportunities in public employment) of the Constitution. Vijaylakshmi had cleared the written examination for junior civil judges in Andhra but was denied the job on the grounds that she and her husband were Maoist sympathisers and that her husband had appeared for the rebels in matters regarding bail.