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Blow for Goa's old lessees --SC dismisses yet again Vedanta's SLP

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a writ petition and SLP filed by Goan miners seeking to revive their mining leases. The Court dismissed seeking an appea...

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7 Sep 2021, 20:20 IST
Blow for Goa's old lessees --SC dismisses yet again Vedanta's SLP

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a writ petition and SLP filed by Goan miners seeking to revive their mining leases. The Court dismissed seeking an appeal against a high court order that dismissed Vedanta's prayer to be considered valid until 2037. Another petitioner Geetabala Parulekar withdrew its petition.

While the Goa Foundation, the NGO that had challenged the renewal of these leases, believes Tuesday's dismissal paves the way for auction of Goa's iron ore deposits. Miners who held rights to these areas claim their vested rights have yet to be abjugated.

The iron ore mines have been shut ever since the SC 2018 declared illegal, the renewals of 88 leases carried out by the state government in the run up to the 2015 amendment introducing auction. Mining in Goa had begun during Portuguese rule in the late 40s. These concessions granted as inheritable rights for perpetuity were converted into leases only in 87 but with retrospective effect. Miners' challenge to the retrospective change in their status, as well as their perpetual rights is subjudice.

The dilemma for the state government, complicit in the "illegal" decisions, has been on how to proceed with mining. It failed at seeking a review of its renewals. It seems to have also failed convincing the apex court that under the amended mining laws, these concessions-turned leases are valid until 2037, provided their conversion was prospective.

According to those attending this online hearing on Tuesday, the apex court expressed its irritation with persistent efforts by Goan miners to have orders cancelling their renewals reviewed or have their lease terms extended until 2037. The apex court in the month of July had been very critical of the Goa government and Vedanta for filing review petitions with an obvious delay that suggested they were waiting for the author of the original SC judgement to retire.

 

7 Sep 2021, 20:20 IST

 

 

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