Common Cause v. Union of India

The Applicant herein, M/s Orissa Minerals Development Company Limited sought condonation of delay in the payment under the Order passed by the Court. The Applicant had also requested for a direction to the State of Orissa to conduct joint verification of the undisposed stock and allow sale of the same to enable the Applicant company to realise the amount. The Applicant has sought permission to resume regular mining operations in view of payment of the entire amount demanded. The Applications were regarding the mining lease in favour of the company of the applicant in respect of Roida – Bhadrasahi Iron Ore and Bhadrasahi Iron and Manganese respectively.

The Court while disposing of petition had directed that the Applicant company to pay compensation on or before 31st December 2017. Since there was delay in payment, condonation of the same was sought and the further relief was prayed for. The State of Orissa in the reply to the applications has said that the compensation amount Ordered by the Court under Section 21(5) of the M.M.D.R. Act, 1957 had been paid by the Applicant along with interest with respect to all the mining leases held by the Applicant. The Court stated that since the interest is said to have been paid for the period of delay, we find it expedient to condone the delay. Further since the compensation amount along with interest has been paid as per the Order of the Court and the receipt of the same is acknowledged by the State of Orissa, the Court also consider it appropriate to grant the further relief sought in the applications.

The Court also took into account the submission of the Solicitor General that in similar circumstances, through the Order dated 29th January 2020, identical prayers made were allowed by the Court and the instant applications were ordered to be listed after a week so as to enable the learned counsel for the State of Orissa to ascertain whether the payment has in fact been made by the applicant company.

Accordingly, the following Order was passed wherein the delay in payment of the compensation along with interest is condoned; the Applicant be permitted to resume mining operations subject to all necessary clearances required in accordance with law being obtained; and the Competent Officers of the State of Orissa shall also conduct a joint verification of the undisposed stock and allow sale of the same by the Applicant on following due procedure.

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Kirit P. Mehta School of Law Publications