In a matter related to the levy of additional royalty under the amended Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed proceedings before various high courts on the issue. It also transferred to itself a petition filed by the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) challenging the central government notification asking the miners to contribute to the District Mineral Foundation (DMF).
A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra said that the interested parties can approach it after transfer of the case from the Delhi High Court.
The Union mines ministry had come out with a notification in September 2015 asking the miners to pay their contribution to the DMF with retrospective effect from January 12, 2015, when the new MMDR Act was enforced.
The government had notified a rate of 10% royalty for new miners and 30% royalty for existing miners. The money collected under this head was supposed to be spent on various developmental activities at the local level.
The Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (amendment) Act, 2015, had stipulated that all
mineral rich states would constitute DMFs for the districts where mining activities are being carried out, with contributions from mine owners operating in that district.
FIMI had challenged the notification before the Delhi High Court arguing that this would push up their cost.
The lobby group had claimed while it was ready to make future payments, it was not valid for the government to introduce a retrospective royalty in this manner.