New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed the appeal filed by the Vedanta Ltd against a Bombay High Court order concerning their alleged mining rights for a period of 50 years, that is, till the year 2037, despite earlier Supreme Court judgements cancelling their leases for good.
Thereafter, the Court also dismissed a writ petition by former mining lease holder Geetabala Parulekar filed under Article 32 of the Constitution which canvassed similar grounds.
Earlier, on 9 July 2021, the Supreme Court had already dismissed a batch of review petitions filed by the Goa government and by Vedanta against its judgement dated 7.2.2018 cancelling the grant of second renewal for 88 mining leases in the state of Goa.
Adv. Prashant Bhushan, assisted by Adv. Pranav Sachdeva, appeared for the Goa Foundation in both matters.
Facts of the two matters dismissed today:
On 29.10.2019, Vedanta wrote to the Goa government demanding extension of their mining lease deed to enable them to carry on mining operations till 2037. The company argued that they were entitled to a 50 year period on their lease, after the amendments to the MMDR Act, 1957 came into force on 12.1.2015.
The Goa government agreed with their standpoint, but expressed inability to extend the lease deed due to the judgement passed by the Supreme Court dated 7.2.2021 cancelling 88 mining lease renewals and directing grant of fresh leases and environmental clearances.
Copy of the Vedanta letter and the response of the Goa government is enclosed.
Thereafter, on 19.11.2019 (that is on the same day they received the order of rejection) Vedanta filed a writ petition (No.1005/2019) before the Bombay High Court. A division bench of Justice Mahesh Sonak and Justice Prithviraj Chavan dismissed the petition on 25.11.2019, expressing inability to grant relief in view of the SC judgement dated 7.2.2018 cancelling 88 leases.
It is in response to the High Court’s dismissal that Vedanta filed an SLP which was dismissed by the Supreme Court today. This was the first matter. Thereafter, the Court took up the second matter.
It appears that Geetabala Parulekar also filed a similar representation before the Goa government demanding lease extension till the year 2037. This was also rejected by the Goa government. Unlike Vedanta, Parulekar did not move the High Court but filed a writ petition directly in the apex court. That petition too was dismissed by the Supreme Court today.
This was the last straw to which the mining lobby in Goa was hanging on to in desperation. Already, the review petitions filed by the Goa government and Vedanta against the SC judgement dated 7.2.2018 had been dismissed by the Supreme Court with a brief order in July 2021. After the dismissal of the review petitions, it was apparent that the appeals and petitions filed by Vedanta and Parulekar would also go out of the window.
With this development, the private mining industry and its lobbies which held sway over the sector for more than 50 years has come to an inglorious end.