SECRETARY KERALA GRANITES AND STONE ASSOCIATION Vs. STATE OF KERALA
LAWS(KER)-2003-10-70
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Decided on October 01,2003

SECRETARY, KERALA GRANITES AND STONE ASSOCIATION Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF KERALA Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) Petitioners in these Original Petitions challenge Ext. P-2 Government Order amending R.4 and introducing R.8A and increasing the royalty payable for granite. Petitioners are engaged in quarrying and mining operations. The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 was enacted by the Central Government for . the development of mines and minerals. S.3(a) and (e) of the Act deals with definitions, the relevant portion of which reads as follows: "(a) 'minerals' includes all minerals except mineral oils; (e) 'minor minerals' means building stones, gravel, ordinary clay, ordinary sand other than sand used for prescribed purposes, and any other mineral which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be a minor mineral."
(2.) In exercise of the powers conferred under S.3(e) of the Act, the Central Government declared the following as minor minerals: "(a) Boulder, Shingle, Chalaceony, Pebbles used for ball mill purposes only, lime shell, kankar and limestone used for lime burning, murrum, brickearth, fuller's earth bentonite, road metal, reh-matti, slate and shale when used for building material (Central Government Notification No. M. II-152/(18) 54-A-11 dated 1st June 1958). (b) Stones used for making household materials (Central Government Notification No.M.II-159(11)759 dated 13th June 1960). (c) Quartzite and sandstone when used for purposes of building or for making road metal or household utensils (Central Government Notification No.M.II-1 (1 )/63 dated 10th February 1965). (d) Saltpetre is a minor mineral (GovernmentofIndia'sNotificationdated28thJanuary 1967)." S.15 of the Act empowers the State Governments to make rules in respect of minor minerals by notification in the official gazette. It also provides that the State Government shall not enhance the rate of royalty or dead rent in respect of any minor mineral for more than once during any period of three years. So, with regard to the minor minerals, royalty can be revised only in an interval of three years.
(3.) It is the contention of the petitioners that in view of S.3(e), minor minerals can be building stones, gravel etc., and other minerals specified by the Central Government by notification. Granite is not specified by a notification and therefore granite cannot be considered as minor mineral and State Government has no jurisdiction to impose royalty on the same. It is further contended that the amount of royalty is enhanced periodically in an exorbitant and unreasonable manner.;


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