MINERAL DEVELOPMENT LIMITED Vs. UNION OF INDIA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PATNA)
MINERAL DEVELOPMENT LIMITED
UNION OF INDIA
Referred Judgements :-
CAMBERWELL AND SOUTH LONDON BUILDING SOCIETY V. HOLLOWAY
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(1.)THE following Judgment of the court was delivered by :
(2.)THIS is an appeal from a decree of the Patna High court. The appellant is a Public Limited Company with its registered office at Calcutta. A mining lease was granted to it by the Raja of Ramgarh on 29/12/1947, for a period of 999 years in respect of 3026 villages situate within the Ramgarh Estate and the appellant was put in possession thereof. On 1/02/1950, the appellant granted a sub-lease of two of the villages comprised in its grant to one Bhagat Singh for a term of 15 years. In the meantime the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (LIII of 1948), (hereinafter called the Act), had come into force along with the Mineral Concession Rules, 1949 (hereinafter called the Rules), in the area in which the two villages lay. Bhagat Singh then applied to the Deputy Commissioner, Hazaribagh, for the grant of a certificate of approval under the Rules. Thereupon the Deputy Commissioner, taking the view that the sub-lease granted was in contravention of the Act and the Rules, filed a complaint on 25/09/1951, before a magistrate against two directors and the secretary of the appellant charging them with the breach of r. 45 of the Rules and also RR. 47 and 49 (now r. 51) read with r. 51 (now r. 53) and s. 9 of the Act. While the criminal case was going on, the appellant filed a suit challenging the validity and constitutionality of the Act and the Rules. A number of grounds were taken in support of this challenge but it is not necessary now to set out all of them, as learned counsel for the appellant has confined his arguments only to two points, namely, (1) a sub-lease is not covered by the definition of the term ' mining lease' in s. 3(d) of the Act and therefore the Act and the Rules do not apply to a sub-lease at all, and (ii) as these Rules were made under Ss. 5 and 6 of the Act and not under s. 7 they have no application to a sub-lease granted by a lessor, even after the coming into force of the Act and the Rules, where the lessor's own lease was of a date anterior to the coming into force of the Act and the Rules.
The suit was resisted by the respondents and their defence was that the term ' mining lease' included a sub-lease and that the Rules framed under Bs. 5 and 6 of the Act were applicable to all sub-leases granted after the Act and the Rules had come into force.
(3.)THE High court repelled the contentions raised by the appellant against the validity and constitutionality of the Act and the Rules. It further held that the term 'mining lease' as defined in s. 3(d) of the Act included a sub-lease and therefore the Act and the Rules applied to sub-leases granted after the Act and the Rules came into force and it was immaterial that the lease granted to the appellant was anterior in time to the coming into force of the Act and the Rules. On this view, the suit was dismissed. THEreupon the appellant applied for a certificate which was granted and that is how the matter has come up before us. Re. (1).
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