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Shyambabu Gupta Vs. Union of India (Uoi) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMisc. Petn. No. 612 of 1980
Judge
Reported inAIR1983MP89
ActsMines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 - Sections 30
AppellantShyambabu Gupta
RespondentUnion of India (Uoi) and ors.
Appellant AdvocateGulab Gupta, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateRajendra Tiwari and ;P.V. Lele, Advs.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredGorelal Dubey v. State of M. P.
Excerpt:
- - but it was contended that only on a casual survey of a few samples, which according to the report of shri gaur himself, was not satisfactory, the central government proceeded to dispose of the matter on the basis of that report, 6. it was also contended that in a situation like this, in exercise of revi-sional jurisdiction, the central government had no option but only to sent the matter to state government for proper decision......dolomite situated in village bistara of jabalpur district, m. p. this application was made to the state government. it is alleged that no material was placed before the state government along with the application to show that limestone found in this area was fit to be used as a major mineral. the area for which this application was made by the respondent also included the area which was leased out to the petitioner for extraction of minor mineral. according to the petitioner, the application of the petitioner was granted as the collector considered this application and granted it as he thought that it was a fit case for grant of lease for minor mineral. the state government by its order dated 3-2-1979 rejected the application of the respondent no. 3 and it was rejected on three grounds.....
Judgment:

Oza, J.

1. This is a petition filed by the petitioner challenging the order passed by the respondent No. 1, dated 14-8-1980 passed in exercise of revisional jurisdiction by which a mining lease granted in favour of the petitioner has been set aside.

2. According to the petitioner, he had applied for a quarry lease for extracting limestone as a minor mineral to be used in kilns for manufacture of lime used as building material, on land forming part of Khasra Nos. 24 and 25/3 measuring 0.878 hectares in village Bis-tara, Patwari Circle No. 53, tahsil Mur-wara, district Jabalpur. This application was submitted under M. P. Minor Mineral Rules, 19-61. This application of the petitioner was sanctioned for a period of 5 years without any renewal clause by an order dated 22-12-1978 and consequent to this order, a lease-deed was executed in his favour on 18-1-1979 and the petitioner after performing the necessary formalities obtained possession of the area and started extraction of limestone.

3. The respondent No. 3, M/s. M. P. Lime Works, submitted an application for mining lease over an area of 2.798 hectares of land for extracting limestone and dolomite situated in village Bistara of Jabalpur district, M. P. This application was made to the State Government. It is alleged that no material was placed before the State Government along with the application to show that limestone found in this area was fit to be used as a major mineral. The area for which this application was made by the respondent also included the area which was leased out to the petitioner for extraction of minor mineral. According to the petitioner, the application of the petitioner was granted as the Collector considered this application and granted it as he thought that it was a fit case for grant of lease for minor mineral. The State Government by its order dated 3-2-1979 rejected the application of the respondent No. 3 and it was rejected on three grounds one of which was that for part of this area a lease had already been granted in favour of the petitioner.

4. It appears that the respondent No. 3 filed an appeal against the order of grant of lease in favour of the petitioner before the Commissioner as it is not disputed that under the M. P. Minor Mineral Rules, an appeal could be filed before the Commissioner and respondent No. 3 also filed a revision petition to the Central Government against the order passed by the State Government rejecting the application of respondent No. 3 for grant of lease as major mineral. The Commissioner stayed the appeal 35 a revision was already filed before the Central Government by the respondent No. 3 and the Central Government by the impugned order, allowed the revision petition and set aside the order of the State Government and rejecting the application of respondent No. 3 and directed the State Government to grant a lease in favour of the respondent No. 3 and it is against this order that the present petition is filed.

5. It was contended by the learned counsel that the Central Government while considering this revision petition placed reliance on a report of one R. K. Gaur, the Geologist of the Department of Geology and Mining and came to the conclusion that the area was fit for extraction of limestone as a major mineral and on the basis of this report, allowed the revision petition whereas, in fact, the State Government had not considered the question on the basis of Shri Gaur's report but rejected the application of respondent No. 3 on three grounds, that is, (1) that for a part of the land, a lease was granted in favour of the petitioner; (2) that a part of the land falls within the railway strip; and (3) that a part of the land is in cultivation of chief crops, and it was contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner that it appears that the Central Government while allowing the revision petition did not take into consideration this question at all and by granting the application of respondent no. 3, set aside the lease granted in favour of the petitioner when there was no revision before the Central Government so far as this order in favour of the petitioner was concerned and the Commissioner, before whom the appeal was pending stayed, dismissed the appeal by his order dated 16-3-1981 as it had become infructuous in view of the orders passed by the Central Government. It was, therefore, contended by the learned counsel that when for the first time be-fore the Central Government a report of Shri Gaur was produced, which was not considered by the State Government while rejecting the application of respondent No. 3, the appropriate course for the Central Government was to send the matter back to the State Government so that the State Government could consider as to whether this area was fit for grant of lease for limestone as a major mineral or not, as according to the learned counsel, that was the appropriate course as indicated by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in such a situation, in Gorelal Dubey v. State of M. P., AIR 1976 SC 1125. It was contended that although the Central Government referred to that passage of their Lordships in its own order but instead of following it, proceeded to dispose of the revision petition and directed grant of a lease in favour of respondent No. 3. It was also contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the report of Shri Gaur, a copy of which has been placed on record in this petition, itself shows that he had only carried out a survey of a few samples from a place which was at a respectable distance from the place where the min-ing operations are being carried out by the petitioner and in the report itself. Shri Gaur indicated that if it was thought desirable a survey should be conducted of the area on the basis of which a decision could be taken by the State Government as to whether this area should be given for extraction of limestone as a major mineral. But it was contended that only on a casual survey of a few samples, which according to the report of Shri Gaur himself, Was not satisfactory, the Central Government proceeded to dispose of the matter on the basis of that report,

6. It was also contended that in a situation like this, in exercise of revi-sional jurisdiction, the Central Government had no option but only to sent the matter to State Government for proper decision.

7. It was also contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner that under the Minor Mineral Rules, against the grant in favour of the petitioner, an appeal was preferred by respondent No. 3 to the Commissioner and there was no revision petition pending before the Central Government and, therefore, the order passed in favour of the petitioner could not be set aside in this manner indirectly by the Central Government and after the decision of the Central Government, the Commissioner filed the appeal as it had become infructuous and thereby, in substance, the order passed by the Collector in favour of the petitioner became final although it had already been indirectly set aside by the Central Government in exercise of revisional jurisdiction. In doing so, according to the learned counsel, apparently the Central Government has exceeded its jurisdiction and, therefore, the order passed by the Central Government could not be maintained.

8. It was also contended that apart from the quality and quantity of the mineral which may be available at a particular place, it will depend upon the policy of the State Government as to whether to allow its extraction as a minor mineral or to allow it to be extracted as major mineral for industrial purposes and, therefore, as it is apparent from the order passed by the State Government that for the reasons stated by the State Government in its order, the State Government was not inclined to allow the use of this whole area for extraction as a major mineral especially because part of it was within the railway strip and the other part was useful for agriculture and, therefore, the Central Government without applying its mind to these reasons stated by the State Government, could not have interfered with the orders passed by the State Government and allow the revision petition, and in doing so, also the Central Government has exceeded its jurisdiction.

9. Learned counsel for the respondent No. 3, on the other hand, contended that from the report of Shri Gaur who was the Geologist in the Department of Geology and Mining, M. P., it was abundantly clear that the limestone available in the area was of such quality which could be used for industrial purposes and, therefore, the Central Government allowed the revision and directed the grant of lease to respondent No. 3 as, in the opinion of the Central Government, this area should have been used for extraction of limestone as a major mineral. The learned counsel, however, frankly conceded that the reasons for which the State Government refused the application of responden No. 3 were not considered as according to him at least the area about which a lease was granted to the petitioner was available for extraction of the mineral. The only question before the Central Government was as to whether it should be permitted for extraction as a minor mineral or the resources should be utilised as a major mineral for industrial purposes and for that purpose, the Central Government in its decision relied on the report of Shri Gaur who is a Geo-logist of the Geological Department and, therefore, it was contended that it could not be said that the Central Government exceeded the jurisdiction vested in it by law. It was also contended by the learned counsel for the respondent No. 3 that although against the order granting the lease under the Minor Mineral Rules to the petitioner, an appeal was filed and was pending before the Commissioner but it could not be disputed that ultimately the Central Government had jurisdiction in exercise of the revisional powers even to set aside the order granting lease in favour of the petitioner and, therefore, the Central Government was within its jurisdiction, in allowing the revision petition.

10. It was also contended by the learned counsel for the respondent that it is, no doubt, true that the way suggested in the decision reported in Gore-lal Dubey v. State of M. P., ATR 1976 SC 1125 could be one course which could be followed by the Central Government but if the Central Government in view of the report of Shri Gaur chose to de-side the matter finally, it could not be said that any error of jurisdiction has been committed or any error apparent on the face of the record is committed.

11. The material facts which are not in dispute are:--

(1) that a lease was granted in favour of the petitioner by the Collector, Jabal-pur for extraction of limestone as a minor mineral;

(2) that the application of respondent No. 3 was rejected by the State Government;

(3) that against the grant in favour of the petitioner, an appeal was filed before the Commissioner and the Commissioner chose to stay the appeal as a revision was pending before the Central Government;

(4) that ultimately, the Commissioner filed the appeal as it had become in-fructuous;

(5) that the report of Shri Gaur, the Geologist of the Geology and Mining Department, was not considered by the State Government probably it was not before the State Government while the application of respondent No. 3 was rejected by the State Government, and

(6) that the Central Government while deciding the revision petition did not apply its mind to the reasons stated by the State Government in rejecting the application of respondent No. 3. From these facts, it is apparent that the State Government had not considered the question as to whether it will be proper to grant a lease for extraction of limestone as a major mineral or it should be allowed to be extracted as a minor mineral. It is also clear the report of Shri R. K. Gaur, Geologist of the Department of Geology and Mining, M. P. Was not considered by the State Govt. and it is also not in dispute that the reasons for which the State Government chose to reject the application of respondent No. 3 were not considered except one, that is, the lease in favour of the petitioner; it is unfortunate that although the Central Government referred to the observations made by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in similar circumstances in Gorelal Dubey v. State of M. P., AIR 1976 SC 1125 but still did not follow that course. The observations from this decision quoted in the judgment of the Central Government reads (at. p. 1130):-- 'The proper course in such a situation is to direct the State Government to consider both the applications, determine the question as to . whether the quality of the limestone contained in the area in question is such that a lease to quarry as a minor mineral should be granted or is such that a lease for mining it as a major mineral should be granted and then it should proceed to grant the lease.'

12. It is also significant that even in the report of Shri Gaur, the note reads:

'The samples were collected from the exposed faces only, that too in the quarry/mines situated in the area under report, and at times may not be in conformity t0 the grade of limestone of the entire area, for which detailed prosper-tion is required.'

This itself goes to show that for a proper decision, a detailed prospection is required which admittedly as is clear from the report, was not done. Under these circumstances, therefore, it is apparent that the Central Government in disposing of the revision petition hadi not considered the reasons which weighed with the State Government and, considered the report which was not before the State Government and did not at all consider the reasons which weighed with the State Government in rejecting the application of respondent No. 3. It is, therefore, clear that the Central Government exceeded its jurisdiction by allowing the revision petition filed by the respondent No. 3.

13. It is clear that an application was made by the petitioner for extracting limestone as a minor mineral and that application was considered by the Col-lector, Jabalpur as he was the competent authority. The respondent No. 3 submitted an application to the State Government for grant for extraction limestone on a major mineral and this application was before the State Government and in view of the circumstan-ces even if the Central Government felt that the report of Shri Gaur deserved consideration, the only appropriate course was as suggested by their Lordships of the Supreme Court, that the Central Government should have sent both the applications to the State Government which on consideration of Shri Gaur's report or, if necessary, after getting a detailed survey made, could have come to its own conclusion in the light of the poliey with regard to extraction of limestone either as a major mineral or as a minor mineral. It is also clear that tho State Government rejected the application of respondent No. 3 because the major part of the land which was sought by respondent No. 3 was either covered by railway strip or was in use as useful agriculture and the State Government felt that this land should not be allotted for extraction of mineral. But unfortunately, the Central Government chose not to consider this and if the matter had been sent to the State Government, it would have been possible for the State Government to consider all these questions and come to its own conclusion. In view of these circumstances, in our opinion, therefore, the order passed by the Central Government could not be maintained.

14. The petition is, therefore, allowed. The order passed by the Central Government, dated 14-8-1983 is hereby Quashed and following the decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court, we direct that the respondent No. 3's application and also the application of the petitioner be placed before the State Government and the State Government, in the light of the observations made above, will proceed to decide the matter with regard to the policy about extraction of limestone as a major or minor mineral and then shall proceed to dispose of the applications filed by the petitioner and the respondent No. 3.

15. In view of this, in our opinion, it is not necessary to dilate on the questions as to whether the order passed by the Commissioner filing the appeal as having become infructuous is in order or not, and as to whether the Central Government when the appeal before the Commissioner was pending, in exercise of revisional jurisdiction against the order passed by the State Government, could also set aside the grant in favour of the petitioner, as in the circumstances the observations made by their Lordships appear to be the only course available and it has, therefore, been so directed, it is further directed that the petitioner shall be entitled to costs of this petition. Counsel's fee Rs. 250, if certified. The security amount deposited by the petitioner shall be refunded to the petitioner.


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