Apex court to hear Vedanta plea to restart mining in Goa in April

By: |
Published: February 11, 2020 6:30:09 AM

The Supreme Court on Monday said it will hear in April Vedanta’s petition to restart mining in Goa after the Centre supported the mining company’s interpretation on renewal of the company’s mining lease from 1987 till 2037.

vedanta, scCentre is supporting Vedanta’s plea as mining concessions which have been converted into leases in 1987 are entitled to get the benefit as per the amended provision and such mining leases are liable to be extended up to 2037.

The Supreme Court on Monday said it will hear in April Vedanta’s petition to restart mining in Goa after the Centre supported the mining company’s interpretation on renewal of the company’s mining lease from 1987 till 2037.
Vedanta has challenged the Goa government’s refusal to extend its mining lease by 50 years from 1987 to 2037 in terms of newly inserted Section 8(A)(3) of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The 2015 amendment states that all mining leases that were operational before the amendment came into force “shall be deemed to have been granted for a period of fifty years.” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a Bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde that the Centre is supporting Vedanta’s plea as mining concessions which have been converted into leases in 1987 are entitled to get the benefit as per the amended provision and such mining leases are liable to be extended up to 2037.

The Goa government had also backed Vedanta’s plea, saying it is prima facie in agreement with the company’s contention but for the Supreme Court judgment which says that mining in Goa will cease “until fresh mining leases (not fresh renewals or other renewals) are granted and fresh environmental clearances are granted.”
While posting the matter for final hearing in April, the apex court sought response from the Goa Foundation on whose petitions mining in Goa was halted. The ministry of mines is also filing its reply.

Vedanta had challenged the Bombay High Court’s order that rejected its plea for a direction that its leases continue to be in force in terms of the newly inserted provision of Section 8A. It said that the SC in the judgment, Common Cause vs UoI, had held that the mere expiry of the period of renewal of a lease before the coming into force of the amendment will not disentitle the leaseholder to the benefits of the new provisions. According to the mining giant, the state government was obliged to amend the lease deed and does not have to conduct auctions in order to resume mining in the state.

Goa Foundation through counsel Prashant Bhushan opposed Vedanta’s plea, arguing that fresh auctions for the mines in Goa will bring in billions of rupees, but government wants to hand over the mines to old lease holders. He further alleged that there was a collusion between mining companies in Goa and the governments, and it was held in earlier Supreme Court judgments as well. However, the CJI said that the Bench does not agree to Bhushan’s view.

Mining activity in Goa came to a halt in September 2012 after the Justice MB Shah Commission report on illegal mining was tabled in the Parliament. All top mining companies were indicted in the illegal mining scam and the report also pointed out to a politician-bureaucrat-mining companies nexus. The ban was eventually lifted in 2014, but the Supreme Court had ordered cancellation of all existing mining leases and issuance of fresh leases.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Next Stories
1RBI issues notification on CRR leeway for new retail, MSME loans
2SC seeks response from RBI, banks on disclosure of reports
3Tax on alcoholic beverages in Goa! Feni makers frown upon govt’s tax plan