HC order quashing Rs 215.75 cr fine on miner stayed

HC order quashing Rs 215.75 cr fine on miner stayed

The Supreme Court has stayed a Karnataka High Court order, quashing a direction issued by the government’s mines department to a ‘C’ category miner to pay Rs 215.75 crore for suspected illegal extraction of iron ore.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta suspended the operation of the High Court’s judgement of August 23, 2017.

The court issued notice to M/s Deepchand Kishenlal on a special leave petition filed by the government. The court also sought a response from the miner on a plea made by the government for condonation of delay in filing the petition.

“There shall be a stay of operation of the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court of Karnataka in Bengaluru,” the bench said in its order.

Additional Advocate General Devadatt Kamat, representing the government, claimed the order by the high court would make the government suffer huge losses caused to the exchequer by the miner for unlawful extraction of iron ores.

The director, department of mines and geology, had on November 2, 2016 called upon the miner to pay Rs 215.75 crore, relying upon the 2011 Lokayukta report, indicting the firm for illegal mining and recommended recovery of money towards the value of iron ore extracted between 2003 and 2008.

The government had claimed the lease deed of the miner for a period of 20 years had expired in 1994 and therefore, extraction was illegal.

The HC, however, had relied upon the subsequent proceedings by the SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee’s recommendation for cancelling the lease of 51 ‘C’ category mines to conclude that the lease of the miner was in force in 2013.