Decided on August 05,1955

Duvvuru Balaramireddy And Others Appellant
A. P. State Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



BHIMASANKARAM,J. - (1.)This appeal is against the decision of our learned brother Satyanarayana Raju, J. in Writ petition No. 264 of 1954. That petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution was for the issue of a writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ directing the Andhra State represented by the Collector of the District of Nellore to accord permission to the petitioners to carry on mica mining operations in S. No. 49/1 In the village of Ananthamadugu of Rapur Taluk of that District, subject to the petitioners executing an agreement as provided under the Mining Rules and conforming to the conditions mentioned therein. The case for the petitioners is that in the Shrotrium village of Ananthamadugu which was notified under the Madras Estates Abolition Act 26 of 1948 with effect from 27-5-1953, they obtained sixteen leases from the holders of 47/48th shares in the shrotrium prior to the notification of the estate. All the leases are for a period of one year and were executed after 1-7-1945. The petitioners claim that under section 20, Estates Abolition Act, the rights so created in their favour by way of leases by the Shrotriumdars are protected. They further contend that by virtue of either Rule 40 or Rule 47 of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1949, they are entitled to a renewal of these leases for another period of one year after the termination of the period of one year provided in the leases. The petitioners allege that they applied to the Manager of the Estate appointed under the Estates Abolition Act for permission to exercise their lease-hold rights and the Manager despite the opposition by some interested parties held that the petitioners had rights enforceable against the Government under Section 20. It is further stated that the District Collector of Nellore in his order dated 30-1-1954 confirmed the view of the Manager. The petitioners state that though the Manager and the Collector as aforesaid held that the leases were binding and enforceable against the Government, the Government did accord permission to the petitioners to work the mines despite the petitioners' expression of their readiness and willingness to execute such agreements as were required under the rules and to pay royalty as provided by the rules and regulations in force. The petitioners state that the withholding of such permission is an infringement of their fundamental right to hold and enjoy property under Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution. The Writ-petition was filed on 9-4-1954. By that time a considerable portion of the period during which they were entitled to carry on mining operations has already lapsed. They averred that they had already suffered serious loss and injury, that any further withholding of permission by the Government would cause them irreparable and more serious loss and that, therefore, a Writ should issue in their favour of the nature of a Writ of Mandamus directing the Andhra state to do its duty by way of granting the necessary licenses, etc.
(2.)Our learned brother held that though Section 20 might avail the petitioners to enforce the leases against the Government, the Shrotriumdars themselves had no right in the sub-soil which they could convey under the leases in question that such a right resided only in the State Government and that in any event the petitioners are entitled to renewals for another year under the Mineral Concession Rules. He, therefore, dismissed the petition.
(3.)Mr. Vedantachari, the learned Advocate appearing for the appellants, contended before us that the learned Judge's findings were wrong in so far as they were against him. He urges in the first instance that in the case of a Shrotrium grant, the Government had no absolute right to the minerals, but had only a right to a share therein. He referred us to the Manual of the Administration of the Madras Presidency published in the year 1835. At page 307 of the 1st Volume under the Mineral Rules appears the following statement :
'The position taken up with regard to the rights of Government varies with the tenures of the land containing the mineral resources. In lands sold under the waste land rules prior to 1879, the rights of the state are held to have lapsed. Neither does the Government assert any right to minerals in permanently settled estates or enfranchised inam lands.
In lands in the occupation of Government ryots or peasant proprietors, no exclusive right to minerals is claimed on behalf of the State, but only a right to share in the produce. In the case of inams held on service tenure, i.e., as wages for public service, the holders are considered to have no right in minerals. Persons desirous of working minerals in ryotwari or proprietary lands must make their own arrangements for obtaining the lands from the proprietors".

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