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Prem Nath Sharma Versus State of U.P & ANR

1997 (4) TMI 515 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

14748 OF 1996 - Dated:- 9-4-1997 - J.S. VERMA, AND B.N. KIRPAL, JJ. JUDGMENT: KIRPAL, J. The appellant had, under the provisions of Uttar Pradesh Minor Minerals (Concession) Rules, 1963 (for short the Rules') on 17th September, 1977, been granted a lease of a plot of land admeasuring 10 acres in Mahoba Tehsil, Hamirpur District. This lease was for a period of ten years and on the basis thereof the appellant set up a granite unit. The aforesaid lease was extended from time to time. The tenure .....

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on 17-A of the Act, becomes available for re-grant on mining lease the District officer shall notify the availability of the area through a notice inviting applications for grant of mining lease specifying a date, which shall not be earlier than thirty days from the date of the notice and giving description of such area and a copy of such notice shall be displayed on the Notice Board of his office and shall also be sent to the Tehsildar of such area and the Director. (ii) The application for gra .....

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l notify the availability of the area afresh in accordance with the said sub-rule. (iii) An application for grant of mining lease for such area which is already held under a lease or notified under sub-rule (1) of Rule 23 or reserved under Section 17-A of the Act and whose availability has not been notified under sub- rule (1), shall be premature and shall not be considered and the application fee thereon, if paid shall be refunded." According to Rule 72 (ii), the applications for the grant .....

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e vide his order dated 6th May, 1995, informed the appellant that his application for grant of the mining lease had been approved. The appellant was required, in token of acceptance of the terms of the lease, to submit an agreement along with a treasury challan of ₹ 30,000/- to enable the execution of the lease deed. According to the appellant the needful was done and the stamp papers worth ₹ 30,065/- were furnished to the office of the Mines officer on 12th May, 1995 so as to enable .....

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, Mahoba, issued a fresh notification dated 30th may 1995. According to the respondents the state Government had arrived at the conclusion that the first notice dated 31st March, 1995 was not in accordance with the provisions of Rule 72 inasmuchas the seven days time for acceptance of the application for grant of the mining lease as contemplated by Rule 72 inasmuchas the seven days time for acceptance of the application for grant of the mining lease as contemplated by Rule 72 was not mentioned i .....

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nd he also prayed for a restraining the respondents from executing a lease in favour of the appellant here in and he also prayed for a direction to the respondent to grant the mining lease in his favour. The Division Bench of the High Court by common judgment dated 24th April, 1996 dismissed the three writ petitions. It came to the conclusion that the requirement of communicating in the notice that application for grant mining lease under Rule 72 (i) shall be received within seven working days f .....

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the fresh notice dated 30th may, 1995 had expired the respondents should issue a fresh notice in accordance with the provisions of Rule 72 and invite fresh applications. Challenging the correctness of the aforesaid decision of the Allahabad High Court it was submitted by the learned counsel for the appellant that Rule 72 did not require that the notice should itself specify the dates when applications for lease could be submitted. He further contended that the appellant had been exploiting he m .....

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equires the notice to invite applications for re-grant of mining lease specifying a date which was not to be earlier than thirty days from the date of the notice. The notice is required to give the description of the area where the re-grant of the mining lease is available. Sub-rule (i) does not require the period within which the application for grant of lease can be filed or the last date by which the application will be received to be specifically stated in the notice which is issued. The rea .....

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or seven more working days. If again the number of applications remains less than three then the availability of the area has to be notified afresh. In our opinion, while mentioning of the dates within which the applications may be filed may be desirable but non mentioning of the same will not in any way invalidate the said notice. Reading the rule as a whole it is only the specified date which has to be stated in the notice, Reading the rule as whole it is only the specified date which has to b .....

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nt. As we have already noted by notice dated 31st March, 1995 the specified date was 2nd May, 1995. On that day itself nine applications were filed. According to sub-rule (ii) of 72 applications could be filed during a period of seven days, i.e., by 9th May, 1995. The District Magistrate did not, however , wait and by order dated 6th May, 1995 he communicated to the appellant that grant of lease in his favour gad been sanctioned. This the District Magistrate could not do. He was under an obligat .....

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were received. It was further submitted that even though by order dated 6th May, 1995 the appellants application was approved in actual fact no further applications were received till 9th May, 1995 or even thereafter. It was, therefore, submitted that by not waiting till after 9th May, 1995 and by according sanction on 6th May, 1995 the District Magistrate had committed no illegality. In order to appreciate the aforesaid submission it is necessary to examine Rule 9 under which the preferential r .....

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ent may, after taking into consideration the matters specified below grant the mining lease to such one of the applicants as it may deem fit: (a) past experience; (b) financial resources; (c) nature and quality of the technical staff employed or to be employed by the applicant; (d) the conduct of the applicant in carrying out mining operations on the basis of any previous lease or permit and in complying with, conditions of such lease or permit or the provisions of any law in connection therewit .....

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ceived earlier shall have a preferential right for the grant of lease over an applicant whose application was received later. But this is subject to the provisions of sub-rule (2) and sub-rule (3) of Rule 9, to which we will presently refer. The proviso to sub-rule (1) deals with a situation where two or more persons apply for a mining lease in respect of the same land on the same day. In such a case the state Government had to take into consideration the matters specified in the said proviso be .....

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preference over a later application, as provided by sub-rule(1) of Rule 9, nevertheless the State Government has been given the power under Sub-rule (2) of Rule 9 to grant a mining lease to an applicant whose application was received later in preference to an application whose application was received earlier. This can be done for special reason which have to be recorded. in other words, an application received earlier in point of time will normally get a preference over an application received .....

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an only be that whose application which has been filed within the period specified by Rule 72(ii). For example an application received after 9th May, 1995, pursuant to the earlier notice dated 31st March, 1995, could not have been considered by the State Government either under sub-rule (2) or(3). An application received after the prescribed period of time will not be regarded as a valid application, but all applications received within the seven days period, i.e., 2nd May, 1995 to 9th May, 1995 .....

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of seven days had elapsed. Had order dated 6th May, 1995 not been passed, it is possible that a more deserving applicant than the appellant herein may have filed an application by 9th May, 1995 on the consideration of which the state Government , for reasons to the recorded, could have been pursuaded to grant a mining lease. A provision like sub-rule (2) of Rule 9 had necessarily to be incorporated so that the application of the most deserving applicant was not rejected merely because the appli .....

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