New Delhi, Jan 16 : The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved order on the plea of a mining company seeking permission to commercially use the mined iron ore lying unused in its mine in Goa.
A Bench, comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant, reserved the order after hearing arguments from both sides. At the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi represented Chowgule and Company and Prashant Bhushan, the Goa Foundation, an NGO.
In 2018, the apex court quashed the second renewal of iron ore leases given to nearly 88 companies in Goa in 2015. The court had directed the Centre and the Goa government to grant fresh environmental clearances to these companies.
The mining company is aggrieved by an order of the Bombay High Court. The company sought permission from the top court, after the ban on iron ore mining in the state, to allow transport and commercially use the mined iron ore in Goa.
The NGO said the top court in 2014 held that after 2007, the mining leases of various companies were illegal.
Bhushan argued that the mined ore is state property and it should be confiscated. He cited in 2018 a Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur quashed the renewal of mining leases of more than 80 companies.
Rohatgi said the company should be allowed to commercially use the already mined iron ore. “However, they are directed to stop all mining operations with effect from March 16, 2018 until fresh mining leases (not fresh renewals or other renewals) are granted and fresh environmental clearances are granted,” said the court.
The judgment came on a petition filed by Goa Foundation, which raised the issue of companies carrying out mining violating various statutes.