Skip to content


Canara Minerals Private Ltd. Vs. Director of Mines and Geology, Government of Mysore and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 917 of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1968Kant124; AIR1968Mys124; (1967)2MysLJ515
ActsMines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 - Sections 10; Mineral Concession Rules 1960 - Rules 11 and 54
AppellantCanara Minerals Private Ltd.
RespondentDirector of Mines and Geology, Government of Mysore and ors.
Excerpt:
.....revisional jurisdiction of the government of india. but what should be deemed for the purposes of the explanation is not the refusal of the application for which rule 11(1) has already made a provision but that the state government which had failed to dispose of the application within the time prescribed had made an order refusing the application......or the rules, may invoke the revision power of the central government. the explanation to that rule states that where the state government fails to dispose of an application for a prospecting licence within the period prescribed, that government shall be deemed to have made an order refusing the grant of such licence.(12) it is thus plain that when the application is deemed to have been refused as provided by rule 11(1), the state government must be deemed to have made an order refusing that application. rule 11 (1) and the explanation to rule 54 in effect bring statutorily into existence a refusal of the application which is not disposed of within the prescribed time and an order by which there was such refusal although in fact, there was none.(13) so it was that the petitioner.....
Judgment:

Somnath Iyer, J.

(1) On October 13/17, 1962, respondent 3 made an application under Section 10 of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, to the State Government for the grant of a prospecting licence. On November 20, 1963, the petitioner before us made a similar application in respect of the same area. Since the mineral in respect of which the prospecting licence was sought was a mineral specified in the first schedule to the Act, the prospecting licence could not be granted by the State Government except with the previous approval of the Government of India.

(2) On December 23, 1964, the State Government sought the approval of the Government sought the approval of the Government of India for the grant of the prospecting licence to respondent 3 and that approval was accorded by the Government of India on May 21, 1965 although the area in respect of which it was proposed to grant the prospecting licence was less than the area mentioned in the application.

(3) Meanwhile, since no order had been passed on the petitioner's application and since Rule 11 of the Mineral Concession Rules 1960 provides that an application for the grant of a prospecting licence shall be disposed of within nine months and that if it is not so disposed of, it shall be deemed to have been refused, the petitioner whose application had not been disposed of within that period of nine months, presented a revision petition to the Government of India under Rule 54 of those Rules on the hypothesis that his application had been refused.

(4) On April 10, 1965, this revision petition presented by the petitioner was dismissed by the Government of India since by then the State Government had decided to grant the prospecting licence to respondent 3 and had sought the concurrence of the Government of India. It is in this situation that the petitioner asked us in this writ petition to quash the proceedings in which the State Government decided to grant that prospecting licence to respondent 3 and sought the approval of the Government of India for that purpose

(5) Mr. Rangaraj appearing for the petitioner contends that on December 23, 1964 when the State Government decided to grant a prospecting licence to respondent 3, his application was no longer before them since under Rule 11 of the Mineral Concession Rules that application had stood disposed of by the deemed refusal to which that rule refers. So it was maintained that it was no longer within the competence of the State Government to grant a prospecting licence to respondent 3 on the basis of the application made by him in October 1962 and that similarly, it was not within the competence of the Government of India to accord their approval to such grant

(6) Rule 11(1) of the Mineral Concession rules 1960, on which Mr. Rangaraj depends reads:-

'11 Disposal of application for the grant and renewal of prospecting licence.--(1) An application for the grant of a prospecting licence shall be disposed of within nine months from the date of its receipt and, if it is not disposed of within that period, it shall be deemed to have been refused.

...........................'

(7) Section 4 of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act prohibits a person from undertaking any prospecting operation in any area except in accordance with the terms and conditions of a prospecting licence granted under the Act and the Rules made thereunder.

(8) Rule 9 authorises the presentation of an application for such prospecting licence. Rule 10 directs its acknowledgment and Rule 11 regulates its disposal.

(9) It is clear from the provisions of Rule 11 that the power to dispose of an application for a prospecting licence has to be exercised within the period of nine months to which sub-rule (1) of that rule refers. if the application is not disposed of within that period that sub-rule provides that it shall be deemed to have been refused. So, after the expiry of a period of nine months after the receipt of the application of respondent 3, that application, as provided by this sub-rule, should be deemed to have been refused. If it should be so deemed to have been refused what should follow is that that application was no longer before the State Government after such deemed refusal and if that application is not before the State Government, there was no power in the State Government to make any order on it.

(10) But Mr. Vasudeva Reddy appearing for the State Government and Mr. Keshava Iyengar, learned Central Government Pleader contended that the only effect of the deemed refusal is to denude the applicant for the prospecting licence of his right to prosecute his application and that the State Government was not divested of its power to dispose of the application when they thought fit to do so. We were asked to say that although from the points of view of the applicant the application must be deemed to have been refused, such deemed refusal did not affect the power of the State Government to make a proper order on that application.

(11) Now, the unsustainability of this argument stands demonstrated by Rule 54 of the Mineral Concession Rules, which provides that a person aggrieved by any order made by the State Government in exercise of the powers conferred on it by the Act, or the Rules, may invoke the revision power of the Central Government. The explanation to that Rule states that where the State Government fails to dispose of an application for a prospecting licence within the period prescribed, that Government shall be deemed to have made an order refusing the grant of such licence.

(12) It is thus plain that when the application is deemed to have been refused as provided by Rule 11(1), the State Government must be deemed to have made an order refusing that application. Rule 11 (1) and the explanation to Rule 54 in effect bring statutorily into existence a refusal of the application which is not disposed of within the prescribed time and an order by which there was such refusal although in fact, there was none.

(13) So it was that the petitioner presented a revision petition to the Central Government under Rule 54 when no order was made on his application within the period specified in Rule 11(1). The deemed refusal to which Rule 11(1) refers and the deemed order to which the explanation to Rule 54 alludes result in a final disposal of the application, which precludes the State Government from making an order on it subsequently as if it was still pending. The impact of such disposal is not restricted to the applicant's right. So it is impossible for Mr. Vasudeva Reddy and Mr. Keshava Iyengar to contend that the deemed refusal affects only the applicant and not the power of the State Government. When the State Government should be deemed to have passed an order of refusal, there is no longer any power in the State Government to make another order on the supposition that no order has yet been made by them.

(14) But Mr. Reddy asked attention to a decision of the High Court of Patna in Dey Gupta & Co., v. State of Bihar, : AIR1961Pat487 in which Rule 57(2) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1949, was interpreted. That rule contained a provision that an application was made by State Government within a period nine months after its receipt. Under Rule (1949), an application for a review of such refusal by the Central Government was authorised. The High Court of patna expressed the view that the application should be deemed to have been refused only for the purpose of a review application under rule 57 and that the State Government was not by such deemed refusal precluded from granting a mining lease subsequently.

(15) But it will be observed that the language of Rule 57 (2) of the Mineral Concession Rules (1949) is not similar to the language of Rule 11(1) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, with which we are concerned. Rule 57 expressly provided that an application for a prospecting licence or a mining lease which is not disposed of within the prescribed period shall for purposes of the 1949 Rules, be deemed to be a refusal of that application and that a person aggrieved by such failure to dispose of the application may seek a review by the Central Government. It is possible that the High Court of Patna felt pursuaded to take the view that the power of the State Government to grant the mining lease subsequently remained intact since the deemed refusal was a refusal only for purposes of the rules and one of the purposes of those rules was a review by the Central Government in respect of such deemed refusal.

(16) But the words, 'for the purposes of these rules' occurring in Rule 57(2) of the 1949 Rules, do not appear in Rule 11(1) of the 1960 rules. It will be interesting to observe that the words, 'for the purposes of this rule' occur in the explanation to Section 54 and the purpose of Rule 54 is the creation of a right in the applicant whose application must be deemed to have been refused to invoke the revisional jurisdiction of the Government of India. But what should be deemed for the purposes of the explanation is not the refusal of the application for which rule 11(1) has already made a provision but that the State Government which had failed to dispose of the application within the time prescribed had made an order refusing the application.

(17) Another dissimilarity between the old rule and the new rule is that in rule 28 (1A) of the old rules which corresponds to rule 11(1) of the new rules, there is no provision that an application which is not disposed of within the period specified in rule 28(1A) shall be deemed to have been refused. The earliest reference to such deemed refusal is to be found only in Rule 57(2) and that deemed refusal is only for the purpose of a review as pointed out by the High Court of Patna.

(18) We think that the other construction suggested is unacceptable for another reason. The acceptance of the argument that notwithstanding the deemed refusal the State Government still possesses the power to dispose of the application is productive of strange consequences. One of them is that if there is a deemed refusal under rule 11(1) and there is a revision petition under Rule 54 and that revision petition is dismissed by the Central Government, the State Government, would nonetheless, have the power to grant the application by the exercise of the power which, we are asked to say, remained unaffected. The same consequence might ensure if the State Government exercised power during the pendency of a revision petition under Rule 54. An interpretation resulting in such clash of power cannot be sound.

(19) So we allow this writ petition and quash the proceedings in which the State Government decided to grant a prospecting licence to respondent 3 and sought the approval of the Government of India for that purpose. The approval accorded by the Government of India on May 21, 1965 in consequence, falls to the ground. The petitioner's revision petition which was dismissed by the Government had decided to grant a prospecting licence to respondent 3 should now be disposed of by the Government of India on its merits and we make a direction accordingly.

(20) Petition allowed


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //