Decided on April 04,2016



- (1.) This Court by its order dated 16.5.2014, in Common Cause v. Union of India, 2014 14 SCC 155, restrained 102 mining leaseholders from carrying on any mining operations. The above order was passed on account of the fact, that none of these leaseholders were in possession of clearances/approvals/consent, required for carrying on the mining operations. The above order dated 16.5.2014, granted liberty to the leaseholders whose operations were suspended, to move this Court after obtaining the requisite clearances/approvals/consent, whereupon this Court would, on being satisfied, revoke the suspension order.
(2.) A number of applications came to be filed before this Court seeking revocation of the above order of suspension, wherein the concerned applicants asserted, that they had obtained all clearances/approvals/consent, and further that, they were now legally eligible to recommence mining operations. During the course of such consideration at our hands, Mr. A.D.N. Rao, learned amicus curiae pointed out, that the question of granting permission to the leaseholders to recommence mining operations would arise, only if the leaseholders have a subsisting mining lease. It was therefore submitted, that before determining the legitimacy of the claim raised by the applicants, this Court should first examine, whether the applicants have a subsisting right to carry on mining operation, under a valid lease.
(3.) This submission advanced at the hands of the learned amicus curiae, was strongly contested by learned counsel representing the applicants. They invited our attention to paragraph 4 of the order dated 16.5.2014, passed in the Common Cause case, so as to contend, that this Court had not postulated such a precondition, and therefore, the submission advanced at the hands of the learned amicus curiae, should be rejected. Paragraph 4 aforementioned, is extracted hereunder: "4. We have considered the report dated 25.4.2014 of the CEC, and the submissions made by learned Counsel appearing for different parties, and we find that 102 mining leases do not have requisite environmental clearances, approvals under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, approved Mining Plan and/or Consent to Operate. A list of these 102 mining leases is annexed to the report of the CEC as Annexure R-2. The CEC has, however, stated in the report that mining operations in these 102 mining leases have been suspended and these 102 mining leases have been classified as non-working leases. We direct that mining operations in these 102 mining leases listed in Annexure R-2 of the report of the CEC shall remain suspended, but it will be open to such lessees to move the concerned authorities for environmental clearances, approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, approval of Mining Plan or Consent to Operate and as and when the mining lessees are able to obtain all the clearances/approval/consent, they may move this Court for modification of this interim order in relation to their cases." (highlighting as per emphasis of learned counsel);

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