SC allows NMDC to continue dual pricing of iron ore in Karnataka

SC allows NMDC to continue dual pricing of iron ore in Karnataka

SC allows NMDC to continue dual pricing of iron ore in Karnataka

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed public sector company National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) to continue with the differential pricing mechanism for the iron ore sold through e-auction in Karnataka.

A three-judge bench presided over by Justice Ranjan Gogoi rejected the contention of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) that since NMDC worked under a special dispensation granted by the apex court and until such dispensation continued, it should not be allowed to resort to dual pricing.

“It is correct that the special dispensation granted to NMDC by this court cannot continue in perpetuity and the regulatory measures prescribed by this court for other leaseholders must also apply to NMDC. The working of its leases by NMDC under the special dispensation, by itself, cannot be a legitimate ground for not resorting to a dual price mechanism, if the same is dictated by market forces,” the bench said.

The apex court passed the order on an application filed by the Karnataka Iron and Steel Manufacturers Association, which, among others, also sought direction to fix floor price of iron ore on realistic grounds to ensure that NMDC does not take undue advantage of the acute shortage of minerals in the state.

The court, meanwhile, rejected a plea by Vedanta Limited for export of iron ore, saying its inability to sell the output on account of higher prices could not be ground for such permission.

“Permission for export must be governed by norms and parameters of general application as distinguished from ad hoc decisions in individual cases. Until such guidelines are framed, the prayer of Vedanta Limited for export of iron ore cannot be granted,” the bench, also comprising Justices Prafulla C Pant and A M Khanwilkar, said.