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SC agrees to hear 20-yr-old mining case

SC agrees to hear 20-yr-old mining case

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14 Mar 2019 No comment 9 hits

PANAJI: In a significant development that will decide the fate of mining in Goa, the Supreme Court has agreed to shortly hear an appeal filed 20 years ago by a mining company challenging a 1987 law that abolished mining concessions granted by Portuguese rulers.

The Supreme Court directed the listing of these appeals after the Union mines ministry submitted an application, last month, seeking an early hearing of these appeals filed in 1998.

The mining companies had filed the appeals after the high court of Bombay at Goa in 1989 dismissed their petitions challenging the Goa, Daman and Diu (Abolition and Declaration of Mining Leases) Act, 1987. Under the Portuguese Colonial Mining Law, the appellants were granted mining concessions, which were converted into mining leases under the Abolition Act.

In the appeal filed before it, the Supreme Court has to decide the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Abolition Act.

The ministry has stated before the court that the legal issues pertaining to the mine concession holders under the Portuguese law be decided for implementing the directions of the Supreme Court in Goa Foundation case regarding the illegal mining in the state.

The Supreme Court in 2014, in its order that put a cap on ore extraction at 20 million tonnes, held that the mining by lessees after 2007 was illegal. Even after the mining restarted in 2015, it was declared illegal by the Supreme Court in 2018 and it ordered that fresh leases be granted. Since then, the mines ministry is grappling with the issue of restarting mining in Goa.

“Pending adjudication of the legal issues involved in the present appeal, there will always remain an inherent legal uncertainty on the title rights of the mines, if granted afresh, as per the directions passed by the court in the Goa Foundation cases, as the original title of mines is still under litigation,” the mines ministry has said.

The mining company has said any delay in adjudication of the appeal will perpetrate legal uncertainty in Goa’s mining sector, which is neither in public interest nor in the financial interest of the state.
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Source: SC agrees to hear 20-yr-old mining case

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