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Indian iron ore mining mess - SC agrees to rehear case on allocating Bellary mines
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Saturday, 06 Oct 2012

DHNS reported that Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a review petition filed by the Union government contending that it was not heard before the court passed a judgment in 2010, with regard to allocation of mining leases.

The court had directed the Karnataka government to consider applications from companies to mine iron ore in the Kumaraswamy range in Karnataka’s Bellary-Hospet region, within 4 months.

A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and H L Dattu allowed the Centre’s the plea made by Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, reasoning that the order was passed without giving it an opportunity to be heard. Iron ore is classified as a major mineral, and falls under the policy-making realm of the Centre.

The court’s decision to rehear the case means that mining leases in the Kumaraswamy range might once again be up for grabs. This follows the recent decision by the Supreme Court (in a separate case) to allow certain compliant companies to resume mining in Bellary district.

It said that “We are satisfied that the Union of India was not given an opportunity to represent its case due to the mistake on the part of the registry.”

The court rejected the arguments by the counsel representing private mining companies, which quoted a report stating the notice was served on the Centre at the time.

The bench had in May decided to hear the review petitions in the open court. On Thursday the court decided the matter merited longer consideration.

The bench said the review petitions filed by Jindal-Vijayanagar Steel Works Steel Limited, Kalyani Steels Limited, Kalyani Steel Mills Limited and the Karnataka government would be taken up after hearing Centre’s plea.

Sandur Manganese and Iron Ore Limited and MSPL Ltd, both private firms which have mining leases alloted to them in the region, have challenged the maintainability of the review petitions.

Overturning the Karnataka High Court ruling, the apex court had, in its decision on September 13, 2010, directed the state government to consider afresh the applications of SMIORE, MSPL Ltd, JSW Steels Ltd and Kalyani Steel Limited.

Source - DHNS


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