Shameless government hoodwinking people: HC

Hearing a petition filed by Santhosh Kumar, a sand mining lease-holder from Shimoga district whose lease was not renewed after March 31, 2011, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice H G Ramesh said that the government was “hoodwinking the people”.

“You are not fair to this court. You are not fair to the citizens,” the Chief Justice observed orally.

Kumar had approached the court, challenging the non-renewal of his lease beyond March 31, whereas those of others were renewed even as there were no clear rules.

Slamming the government’s reckless attitude, Justice Khehar remarked: “You have continued to renew the leases of people of your choice. You said you will withdraw the renewal till a fresh policy was formulated. Now, you are (still) in the process of framing rules.”

When the counsel for the State sought to file a statement on the renewal of the leases, the court restrained him from doing so.

Instead, it asked the government to pass a fresh order on Thursday renewing the sand mining leases till June 15, 2011. After this date, the Karnataka Minor Mineral Concession (Amendment) Rules, 2011, will be in force.

According to the rules, manufacturing of filter sand in any category land, including patta land, is prohibited. Also, sand mining in patta land is totally prohibited.

The Bench also took the State to task for its indecisiveness and remarked: “We are at pains. See your behaviour. You have no shame. We’re not running the government. You’ve to take the decision (on the matter).”

The Court also directed that Ranji Nayak, Senior Geological Scientist, Department of Mines and Geology, Shimoga district, appear before it.

Later, when the court was informed that the petitioner’s lease was renewed for three weeks, the court expressed its satisfaction. The lease of three others - Raghavendra Naik of Tirthahalli, Shimoga district, Y B Manjunath and Prashanth - were also renewed.

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