(2.)This appeal by grant of special leave is directed against the decision of the Orissa High Court dated 18th of May, 2001, dismissing the appellant's writ petition which had been filed against the recommendation of the State of Orissa dated 28-1-1999, seeking approval of the Government of India under Section 5(1) of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'), in respect of 84.881 Hectares of land, bearing chromite in Village Kalarangiata, Kaliapani in Sukinda Tahsil of Jaipur District, Orissa, in favour of M/s. Nava Bharat Ferro Alloys Limited. The writ petition which had been filed in Delhi High Court and since transferred to this Court is directed against the order of approval of the Government of India dated 9-7-2001, in respect of the selfsame area on the basis of the recommendation made by the State Government.
(3.)A large chunk of land about 50 Sq. Meters had been granted for mining operation in favour of TISCO in the year 1952. A lease deed had been executed in respect of 1813 Hectares for chromite extraction in favour of TISCO for a period of 20 years on 12-1-1953. In 1973, the State of Orissa, renewed the grant in respect of 1261.476 Hectares in favour of TISCO. The aforesaid lease was to expire on 3-10-1991. Before its expiry, TISCO applied for a second renewal for 20 more years under Section 8(3) of the Act and the State of Orissa had recommended the Central Government for a second renewal in respect of the entire area, but for a reduced period of 10 years. The Central Government however granted approval for renewal in respect of half of the area namely 650 Hectares in favour of TISCO and further directed that the balance area would be made available to other industries in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the Rules. This order of the Central Government was challenged by TISCO in the Orissa High Court in O.G.C. No. 7729 of 1993. In that writ petition, the rival claimants appeared and made their claims. The High Court, therefore, by its judgment dated 4-4-95, decided that the entire matter requires reconsideration by the Central Government. This order of the High Court was assailed in this Court by TISCO in SLP No. 10830/1995. The Central Government, pursuant to the observations made by the Orissa High Court in its judgment, appointed an Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri S. D. Sharma, to examine the matter and assess the requirements of several aspirants. The said Sharma Committee gave a Report on 16-8-1995, by which TISCO was recommended for an area of 406 Hectares. The Sharma Committee also took into consideration the claims of other claimants and assessed their respective need, but did not undertake the task of recommending any area for being granted as lease in favour of any of those claimants. The Central Government, on the basis of the Report of the Sharma Committee, passed an order on 17-8-1995, requesting the State Government to take necessary steps for grant of 406 Hectares in favour of TISCO for a period of 20 years. The Central Government also further directed that the application for mining lease by 4 other applicants namely, Jindal, Ferro, IMFA and Ispat Alloys could be considered in respect of balance area of 855.476 hectares. The Central Government relaxed the provisions of sub-rule (1) of Rule 59 of the Mineral Concession Rules, on account of urgent need of the four applicants referred to earlier. The special leave petition filed by TISCO stood disposed of by Judgment of this Court since reported in (1996) 9 SCC 709. On 29th of June, 1997, the State Government recommended to the Central Government for grant of lease to 4 claimants in respect of the balance area of 855.476 hectares on the basis of 50 per cent of their respective requirements, which had been assessed by the Sharma Committee and further directed that the rest of the area should be thrown upon for consideration of the claims of all other claimants along with the 4 claimants. This order of the State Government dated 29-6-1997 was assailed in Orissa High Court in O.G.C. No. 12302 of 1997 and the High Court dismissed the same. The aforesaid Judgment of the Orissa High Court was assailed in this Court by one of the four claimants and this Court also dismissed the same since reported in (1999) 4 SCC 1 The State of Orissa in the meantime had appointed a Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri Jagdish Prasad Dass to examine as to how the remaining area of 436.295 hectares will be granted and if so, in whose favour. On 28-1-1999, the State Government recommended the grant of 84.881 hectares in favour of respondent-Nava Bharat, which was assailed by the present appellant in the Orissa High Court. The High Court having dismissed the writ petition filed by the appellant, the present appeal has been preferred in this Court.