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Jayanti Mishra Vs. the Union of India (Uoi) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMisc. Petn. Nos. 120 and 347 of 1973
Judge
Reported inAIR1975MP22; 1974MPLJ542
ActsMineral Concessions Rules, 1960 - Rule 58(1)
AppellantJayanti Mishra
RespondentThe Union of India (Uoi) and ors.
Appellant AdvocateR.S. Dabir and ;J.N. Bhatnagar, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateR.P. Sinha, Adv. for No. 1, ;D.M. Dharmadhikari, Adv. for No. 2, ;P.V. Lale, Adv. for No. 3 and ;M.V. Tamaskar, Govt. Adv. for Nos. 4 and 5
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredR. v. Long
Excerpt:
- - the object of the requirement of rule 58 that the availability of anv area for grant of mining lease should be notified well in advance is to secure equal opportunity to all the intending applicants......ds jkti= esa izdkf'kr gksus dso fnu ckn iwosz{k. vuqkfir] [kfu iv~vk ds fy;s miyc/k gks ldsxkam/s. jailal bharatlal, a partnership firm. made an application for mining lease ol this area on 14th september 1969 to the collector, jabalpur. smt. jayanti mishra (petitioner in m. p. no. 120 of 19731 and m/s. madhya pradesh lime works (petitioner in m. p. no. 347 of 1973) also filed applications for grant of mining lease on 16th september 1969. these applications were considered by the state government. the application of m/s. jailal bharatlal was rejected on the ground that it was premature. out of the remaining two applicants. smt jayanti mishra was preferred on the ground that she was a more suitable party and her application was allowed. against the order of the state government m/s......
Judgment:

Singh, J.

1. This order shall also govern the disposal of Misc. Petition No. 347 of 1973.

2. The facts giving rise to these petitions are that certain area in village Bheraghat. District Jabalpur, which was previously under a mining lease was made available for regrant by a notification issued under Rule 58 of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, which was published in the Madhya Pradesh Gazettee dated 15th August 1969. The relevant part of the notification reads as follows:

fuEu {ks= tks iwosZ{k.k vuqKfIr [kfu iV~Vk dsvUrZxr Lohr gqok Fkk] og {ks= bl vf/klwpuk ds jkti= esa izdkf'kr gksus dsO fnu ckn iwosZ{k. vuqKfIr] [kfu iV~Vk ds fy;s miyC/k gks ldsxkA

M/s. Jailal Bharatlal, a partnership firm. made an application for mining lease ol this area on 14th September 1969 to the Collector, Jabalpur. Smt. Jayanti Mishra (petitioner in M. P. No. 120 of 19731 and M/s. Madhya Pradesh Lime Works (petitioner in M. P. No. 347 of 1973) also filed applications for grant of mining lease on 16th September 1969. These applications were considered by the State Government. The application of M/s. Jailal Bharatlal was rejected on the ground that it was premature. Out of the remaining two applicants. Smt Jayanti Mishra was preferred on the ground that she was a more suitable party and her application was allowed. Against the order of the State Government M/s. Jailal Bharatlal as also M/s. Madhya Pradesh Lime Works went up in revision to the Central Government under Rule 54 of the Mineral Concession Rules. The Central Government held that the application for mining lease made by M/s. Jailal Bharatlal was not premature, and that it being prior in time to the other applications, M/s. Jailal Bharatlal were entitled to the grant of mining lease. On this finding, the revision filed by M/s. Jailal Bharatlal was allowed and the State Government was directed to grant the mining lease to the said firm. It is against this order that these two writ petitions have been filed in this Court; one by Smt. Jayanti Mishra and the other by M/s. Madhya Pradesh Lime Works.

3. The principal question that was argued before us in these petitions is whether the application of M/s. Jailal Bharatlal was premature. The answer to this question depends upon the date from which the area became available for grant of mining lease. The relevant provision in this connection is Rule 58 (1) of the Mineral Concession Rules. 1960, which reads:

'58. Availability of areas for regrant to be notified.-- (1) No area which was previously held or which is being held under a prospecting licence or a mining lease or in respect of which an order had been made for the granl thereof but the applicant has died before the execution of a licence or lease, as the case may be. or in respect of which the order granting licence or lease has been revoked under sub-rule (1) of Rule 15 or sub-rule (1) of Rule 31, shall be available for grant unless--

(a) an entry to the effect is made in the register referred to in sub-rule (2) of Rule 21 or Sub-rule (2) of Rule 40, as the case may be, in ink; and

(b) the date from which the area shall be available for grant is notified in the official Gazette at least thirty days in advance.

4. A perusal of the aforesaid rule will show that it requires that the date from which the area is to be made available for grant be notified in the Official Gazette 'at least thirty days in advance.' The meaning of the words 'at least thirty days in advance', in our opinion, is that thirty clear days must intervene between the date of publication of notification and the date from which the area becomes available for grant. In other words, thirty days have to be counted exclusive of the day on which notification is issued in the Gazette and of the day from which the area becomes available for grant. Our conclusion gets support from the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal in R. v. Long, (1959) 3 All ER 559. In this case Section 23(1) of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, which required notice of intention to prove previous convictions to be given to the offender 'at least three days before the trial', came up for consideration and it was held that these words meant a period of three clear days exclusive of the day on which the notice is given and of the day on which the trial begins. The notification issued under Rule 58 (1), which we have earlier quoted, must be understood in the light of the requirement of that rule. The notification did not specify any particular date from which the area was to be made available for grant; it only said that the area shall be available for grant after thirty days from the date of publication of notification. Understood in the light of Rule 58 that thirty clear days must intervene between the date of publication of notification and the date from which the area becomes available for grant, it follows that the area in the present case became available for grant from 15th September, 1969. In this view of the matter, the application made by M/s. Jailal Bharatlal on 14th September, 1969, was premature. The Central Government was of the view that in counting the period of thirty days under Rule 58 (1) the date of publication of notification is also to be counted and, therefore, the application made on 14th September, 1,969, was not premature. This view expressed in the impugned order proceeds upon a mis-construction of the rule and is apparently erroneous. As already stated, the correct construction of the rule is that thirty clear days must intervene between the date of publication of notification and the date from which the area is to be available for grant.

5. Another point that may be noticed is that 14th and 15th September, were holidays and the office of the Collector was closed on these dates. The State Government or the Collector had not notified that any arrangement had been made to receive application on these dates, yet the application of M/s. Jailal Bharatlal was received by the Collector at his residence on 14th September. Under Section 11(2) of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, the applicant whose application is received earlier has a preferential right for grant of mining lease. An applicant for a mining lease is, therefore, anxious to make his application as early as possible. The object of the requirement of Rule 58 that the availability of anv area for grant of mining lease should be notified well in advance is to secure equal opportunity to all the intending applicants. Consistent with this object and to avoid any undue preference to any particular person, if it is desired to receive applications on a holiday suitable arrangement for the same should be made consistent with the rules and notice of that arrangement should be given in such a manner that all parties concerned may know that they can make applications even on a holiday when the Collector's office is normally not open.

6. Further it appears to us that the Collector is not competent to receive an application for mining lease. Rule 22 requires that an application for grant of a mining lease shall be made to the State Government 'through such officer or authority as the State Government may specify in this behalf.' Rule 23 (1) provides that where an application for the grant of a mining lease is delivered personally, its receipt shall be acknowledged forthwith. The form of receipt of applications is Form D which shows that the receipt has to be signed by the receiving officer. The Government has from time to time issued orders on the subject of receipt and dealing of applications for mineral concessions and other connected matters which are collected in the Madhya Pradesh District Office (Collectorate) Manual. Paragraph 2 of Chapter XIII of this manual provides that when an application for a minins lease is received, the Superintendent of the Collector's office should immediately note the time, date and place of its receipt and acknowledge receipt in Form D. This provision indicates that the State Government has specified Sunerintendent of the Collector's office and not the Collector to be the officer who is to receive applications under Rule 22.

7. As already seen the application of M/s. Jailal Bharatlal was handed over to the Collector on 14th September, 1969, at his residence. The records produced before us show that the application was received in the office of the Collector on 18th September, 1969 and on that date a receipt in Form D was issued by the Superintendent of the Collector's office. As the Collector was not the officer specified to receive the application under Rule 22 and as the Superintendent of the Collec-torate was the specified officer for that purpose, the application made by M/s. Jailal Bharatlal if at all can be said to have been properlv received only on 18th September, 1969, when it was sent to the office by the Collector and when the Superintendent issued the receipt in Form D. We have already stated that the applications of the two other applicants were received in the office of the Collector by the Superintendent on 16th September, 1969.

8. The position thus is that if the application of M/s. Jailal Bharatlal can be said to have been properlv received by the Collector on 14th September, 1969, it was premature and it could not be entertained as provided in Rule 60. Alternatively, if it was properly received only on 18th September, 1969, when it came in the hands of the receiving officer appointed under Rule 22, it was later in point of time as the other two applications were received on 16th September, 1969. On this view, Smt. Jayanti Mishra and M/s. Madhya Pradesh Lime Works were entitled to preference against M/s. Jailai Bharatlal under Section 11(2). Thus in any view of the matter mining lease could not have been granted to M/s. Jailal Bharatlal.

9. The Central Government has not finally decided the inter se claims of Smt. Jayanti Mishra and M/s. Madhya Pradesh Lime Works. That matter will have to be determined in the revision filed by the latter.

10. The petitions are allowed. The order passed by the Central Government on 19th September. 1972, is quashed and the order of the State Government dismissing the application of M/s. Jailal Bharatlal is restored. The Central Government is directed to rehear and determine the revision filed by M/s. Madhya Pradesh Lime Works. The petitioners are entitled to their costs from M/s. Jailal Bharatlal. Counsel's fee Rs. 100/- in each case, if certified.

The amount of the security deposit shall be refunded to the petitioners.


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