Can­cel­la­tion of li­cences held il­le­gal

Business Standard - - BUSINESS LAW -

The Delhi High Court last week quashed the or­der passed by the con­troller gen­eral un­der the Off­shore Ar­eas Min­eral (De­vel­op­ment and Reg­u­la­tion) Act, whereby he can­celled all ex­plo­ration li­cences granted to sev­eral min­ing com­pa­nies. The can­cel­la­tion was jus­ti­fied by the Min­istry of Mines on the ground that some blocks were over­lap­ping with the on­shore area, and thus pro­hib­ited un­der the Coastal Reg­u­la­tion Zone (CRZ) rules. In this batch of pe­ti­tions led by Stan­dard Me­tal­loys Ltd vs Union of In­dia, the firms ar­gued that they were not given an op­por­tu­nity to present their case and the CRZ ar­gu­ment was an “eye­wash”. The court re­jected the ar­gu­ment of the au­thor­i­ties re­gard­ing the over­lap­ping of CRZ area, af­ter ex­am­in­ing the rules. More­over, they had al­ready ex­am­ined the is­sue while ex­e­cut­ing the ex­plo­ration li­cences in favour of the firms. The judg­ment said: “The is­sue of over­lap­ping of some blocks is noth­ing but an af­ter­thought and the rea­sons have been man­u­fac­tured to some­how can­cel the grants so that the same can be re-al­lo­cated/re-granted.” The court di­rected the con­troller gen­eral to ex­e­cute the ex­plo­ration li­cences in favour of the com­pa­nies within a month.

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