Decided on July 08,1968

VASU Respondents


- (1.) The appellants before us are the Collector of Cannanore and the State of Kerala. They challenge the correctness of the decision of Isaac J. in O. P. No. 870 of 1966 by which the learned Judge held that Ext. P 1 dated 31-12-1965 was unsustainable, and quashed it by a writ of certiorari under Art.226 of the Constitution.
(2.) By Ext. P 1 the Collector had imposed a penalty on the respondent and two others jointly and severally under R.22 of the Madras Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1956, for the quarrying of granite stones in violation of R.20 of the said Rules. R.19 of the Rules which is referred to in R.20, and R.20 and 22 read as follows: "19. Rates of seigniorage fee.-- The quarrying of any mineral on a large scale or for other than bona fide domestic or agricultural purposes shall be subject to the payment of seigniorage fee at the rates prescribed in Appendix I to these rules: Provided that this rule shall not apply to quarrying for Government or on behalf of the Government or for bona fide public purposes when the compensation paid to the registered holder therefor does not exceed the amount required to restore the land to a state fit for cultivation. 20. Procedure for quarrying in ryotwari lands: In the cases referred to in R.19, the registered bolder or the tenant or lessee in actual possession of the land or the contractor who obtains the permission of the registered holder or tenant or the lessee for quarrying in the land shall give previous notice to the Tahsildar or the Deputy Tahsildar concerned, specifying the minerals in respect of which and the field in which quarrying operations are proposed to be undertaken. The Tahsildar or the Deputy Tahsildar concerned will himself issue permits for quarrying in cases where the seigniorage fee if levied, would not exceed Rs. 25. In cases where the fee exceeds Rs. 25 he should submit the notice to the Collector and inform the party accordingly, A map or a sketch of the area should also be submitted by the registered holder if one is called for by the Tahsildar or Deputy Tahsildar concerned or the Collector as the case may be. In default of submission of such a map or sketch the Tahsildar or the Deputy Tahsildar or the Collector shall have one prepared under his orders and recover the cost from the registered bolder concerned. 22. Penalty for unauthorised quarrying in ryotwari lands. Whenever quarrying operations are done without giving notice as required by R.20, the registered holder, the persons (tenant or lessees) in actual possession of the land and the contractor shall be jointly and severally liable to pay enhanced seigniorage fee or acreage assessment upto a maximum of five times of the normal rate. Explanation:-- The question whether quarrying operations are carried on, on a large scale within the meaning of this rule shall be determined by the Collector of the district according to the circumstances thereof. Note 1.- This rule shall not affect in any way the right, which all holders of lands held on ryotwari tenure possess; of digging wells in their lands and of disposing of the gravel and stones which may be thrown up in the course of excavation. Note 2.- The word 'registered holder' occurring in this rule shall include mulgenidars and walawargdars in the South Kanara district."
(3.) R.18 to 35 of the Madras Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1956, deal with "ryotwari lands and other lands on intermediary tenure in which Government have claim only to a share of the minerals". It is common ground that what we are dealing with are ryotwari lands. It is also not disputed that R.19 is attracted to the quarrying with which we are concerned. The only controversy is as to the operative character of the Madras Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1956, after the amendment of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1948, by the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957.;

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