Guj HC | No mining activities to be carried out without fulfilling environment clearance conditions under Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act

Gujarat High Court: Biren Vaishnav J., allowed the petition to grant necessary clearance within the stipulated time for quarry lease under Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 and Gujarat Minor Mineral Concessions Rules, 2017.

A petition was filed for the direction from the State Government to pass an order for grant of quarry lease as a letter of Intent was issued in the favour of the petitioner.

Shivani Rajpurohit, counsel for the petitioner submitted that the permission for conducting mining activities as per the provision of Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 and Gujarat Minor Mineral Concessions Rules, 2017 was obtained by them. The Letter of Intent was executed in which environment clearance and mining plans were to be approved by the competent authorities within 2 years.  The petitioner submitted that the government has to issue an order in writing for grant of quarry lease to the holder of Letter of Intent in the abovementioned time which was going to be over, the consequence of which was forfeiting of the Letter of Intent. Thus, prayed for the necessary orders of grant for quarry lease in favour of petitioner.

Jayneel Parikh, counsel for the respondent, submitted that Letter of Intent was executed after observing all the necessary requirements. It was further submitted that on account of the peculiar situation, which arose on account of the timeline the State had to undertake necessary steps, more particularly in view of the applicability of Model Code of Conduct of General Election, 2019.

The Court after submissions by parties held that “it is for the Government to issue an order in writing for grant of quarry lease to the petitioner. It was also directed by the government that the said order should be passed in writing for the grant of quarry lease to the petitioner with the condition that petitioner shall not commence or carry out any mining activity in the area in question till the environmental clearance and other conditions as mentioned in the Letter of Intent are fulfilled, as provided under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 is obtained by the petitioner”. [Shri Dev Mines and Minerals v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 861, decided on 16-05-2019]

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