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OMDC Ltd. be permitted to resume mining operations subject to all necessary clearances: SC

Common Cause V. Union of India & Ors. WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 114 OF 2014, 11th August, 2020.

The bench comprising of Hon’ble CJI.S.A. BOBDE, Hon’ble Justice A.S. BOPANNA and Hon’ble Justice J.V. RAMASUBRAMANIAN pronounced the judgement for the writ petition filed under Article 32 of the constitution.

The applicant has sought permission to resume regular mining operations in view of payment of the entire amount demanded. The applications pertain to the mining lease in favour of the applicant company in respect of RoidaBhadrasahi Iron Ore and Bhadrasahi Iron and Manganese respectively.

This Court while disposing of WP© No.114 of 2014 through the order dated 02.08.2017 had directed that the applicant company shall pay compensation on or before 31.12.2017. Since there is delay in payment, condonation of the same is sought and the further relief as indicated above is prayed.

The State of Orissa in its reply to the applications has stated that the compensation amount as ordered by this Court under Section 21(5) of the M.M.D.R. Act, 1957 has been fully paid by the applicant company along with interest in respect of all the mining leases held by the Applicant-OMDC. In that view, since the interest is stated to have been paid for the period of delay, The court find it expedient to condone the delay.

Further since the compensation amount along with interest has been paid as directed by this Court and the receipt of the same is acknowledged by the State of Orissa, The court also consider it appropriate to grant the further relief sought in the applications. At this point The court also take note of the submission of the learned Solicitor General that in similar circumstances, through the order dated 29.01.2020 identical prayers as made in IA.Nos.62602/2019 and 62606/2019 were allowed by this Court and the instant applications were ordered to be listed after a week so as to enable the learned counsel for the State of Orissa to ascertain whether the payment has in fact been made by the applicant company. As noted, the payment made by the Applicant is acknowledged by the State of Orissa.

Accordingly, the following order: (i) The delay in payment of the compensation along with interest is condoned; (ii) The ApplicantOMDC be permitted to resume mining operations subject to all necessary clearances required in accordance with law being obtained; (iii) The Competent Officers of the State of Orissa shall also conduct a joint verification of the undisposed stock and allow sale of the same by the ApplicantOMDC on following due procedure.

The above applications are accordingly disposed of.

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Karthik K.P (School of Law, SASTRA Deemed to be University)