SC and HC Judgments Online at MyNation

Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

The State Of Meghalaya vs All Dimasa Students Union Hasao … on 3 July, 2019

1

REPORTABLE
INTHESUPREMECOURTOFINDIA
CIVILAPPELLATEJURISDICTION

CIVILAPPEALNO.10720OF2018

STATEOFMEGHALAYA…APPELLANT(S)

VERSUS

ALLDIMASASTUDENTSUNION,
DIMA-HASAODISTRICTCOMMITTEEORS….RESPONDENT(S)
WITH

CIVILAPPEALNO.10611OF2018

THESTATECOORDINATIONCOMMITTEE
OFCOALOWNERS,MINERSANDDEALERS
FORUM…APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS

ALLDIMASASTUDENTSUNION
DIMAHASAODISTRICTCOMMITTEEORS….RESPONDENT(S)
WITH

CIVILAPPEALNO.10907OF2018

GAROHILLSAUTONOMOUSDISTRICT
COUNCIL…APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS

ALLDIMASASTUDENTSUNION
DIMAHASAODISTRICTCOMMITTEEORS….RESPONDENT(S)
WITH
CIVILAPPEALNO.5272OF2016

KAHIMANONGSTOINLANDOWNERS,
COALTRADERSAND
PRODUCERSASSOCIATION
SignatureNotVerified
…APPELLANT(S)
Digitallysignedby
ARJUNBISHT

VERSUS
Date:2019.07.03
11:48:29IST
Reason:

ALLDIMASASTUDENTSUNION
DIMAHASAODISTRICTCOMMITTEEORS….RESPONDENT(S)
2

WITH

CIVILAPPEALNo.OF2019
(@C.A.DIARYNO.3067OF2018)

LBERLALOO…APPELLANT(S)

VERSUS

ALLDIMASASTUDENTSUNION,
HASAODISTRICTCOMMITTEEORS….RESPONDENT(S)

WITH

CIVILAPPEALNO.2968OF2019

STATEOFMEGHALAYA…APPELLANT(S)

VERSUS

ALLDIMASASTUDENTSUNION
DIMAHASAODISTRICTCOMMITTEEORS….RESPONDENT(S)

JUDGMENT

ASHOKBHUSHAN,J.

Naturalresourcesofthecountryarenotmeantto

beconsumedonlybythepresentgenerationofmenor

womenoftheregionwherenaturalresourcesare

deposited.Thesetreasuresofnatureareforall

generationstocomeandforintelligentuseofthe
3

entirecountry.Thepresentgenerationowesadutyto

preserveandconservethenaturalresourcesofthe

nationsothatitmaybeusedinthebestinterestof

cominggenerationsaswellandforthecountryasa

whole.

2.Theseappealshavebeenfiledchallengingvarious

orderspassedbyNationalGreenTribunalwherein

severaldirectionswereissued,measurestobetaken

tocheckandcombattheunregulatedcoalminingin

TribalareasofStateofMeghalayawhichcoalmining

resultednotonlylossoflivesbutdamagedthe

environmentofthearea.

Detailsofappeals

3.CivilAppealNos.10720of2018,10611of2018and

10907of2018havebeenfiledagainstorderdated

31.08.2018passedbytheNationalGreenTribunal,

PrincipalBench,NewDelhi.CivilAppealNo.5272of

2016hasbeenfiledbyKAHimaNongstoinLandOwners,

CoalTradersandProducersAssociationagainstthe
4

orderdated10.05.2016oftheNationalGreenTribunal,

PrincipalBench,NewDelhi.CivilAppeal(Diary

No.3067)of2018hasbeenfiledbyLberLalooagainst

orderdated25.03.2015ofNationalGreenTribunal,

PrincipalBench,NewDelhiandCivilAppealNo.2968of

2019hasbeenfiledagainstorderdated04.01.2019of

NationalGreenTribunal,PrincipalBench,NewDelhiby

whichStateofMeghalayahasbeendirectedtodeposit

Rs.100croreswiththeCentralPollutionControlBoard.

4.Alltheappealshavingbeenfiledagainstthe

ordersofNationalGreenTribunal(NGT),itis

necessarytonoticethedetailsofvariousproceedings

beforetheNGTtoappreciatethegrievancesraisedin

theappeals.TheGauhatiHighCourtonthebasisofa

Newsitemtotheeffectthaton06.07.2012,30coal

labourersweretrappedinsideacoalmineat

NongalbibraintheDistrictofSouthGaroHilland15

ofthemdiedinsidethecoalmine,registeredPILsuo

motoNo.(SH)3of2012.Videorderdated10.12.2012

oftheGauhatiHighCourtthematterwasdirectedto

betransferredtoNGTinwhichnoticewasissuedbythe
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Tribunalon30.01.2013.Transferredmatterwas

registeredasOriginalApplicationNO.11(THC)/2012.

AllDimasaStudentsUnionDimaHasaoDistrictCommittee

filedanOriginalApplicationNo.73of2014before

NationalGreenTribunal,PrincipalBenchmakingserious

complaintswithregardtorat-holeminingoperation,

whichhasbeengoingoninJaintiaHillsintheState

ofMeghalayaforlastmanyyearswithoutbeing

regulatedbyanylaw.Itwasallegedthatinthecourse

ofrat-holecoalminingbyfloodingwaterseveral

employeesandworkershavedied.Theapplicanthadalso

broughtbeforetheTribunaladetailedreportofone

Dr.O.P.Singh,Professor,DepartmentofEnvironmental

Studies,North-EasternHillsUniversity,Shillong,

Meghalayawhereentireaspectsofthecoalminingin

theStateofMeghalayawerediscussed.TheNGTadmitted

theapplicationandtooktheviewthatillegaland

unscientificminingneithercanbeheldtobeinthe

interestofpeopleofthearea,thepeopleworkingin

theminesnorintheinterestofenvironment.After

hearingapplicant,theTribunalon17.04.2014passed

anorderdirectingtheChiefSecretaryofMeghalaya,
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DirectorGeneralofPolice,StateofMeghalayato

ensurethatrat-holemining/illegalminingisstopped

forthwiththroughouttheStateofMeghalayaandany

illegaltransportofcoalshallnottakeplaceuntil

furtherorderspassedbytheTribunal.Afterthe

passingoftheorderdated17.04.2014various

applicationswerefiledbeforetheTribunalby

differentAssociationsandpersonsclaiminginterest

inthesubjectmatteroftheapplication.Application

No.317/2019wasfiledbyWesternCoalMinersand

ExportersAssociationforbeingimpleadedinO.A.No.73

of2014,whichwasallowed.Anotherapplication

M.A.No.306of2014wasfiledbyKhasiHillsDistrict

AutonomousDistrictCouncil,Shillong,EastKhasiHills

District,Meghalaya(oneoftheappellantsbeforeus)

forimpleadmentclaimingtobeaconstitutionalbody

andentitledinthesharingprimarilyoftheroyalty

onthecoalproduced/mined,whichapplicationwas

allowed.

5.TheTribunalclubbedO.A.No.13of2014,O.A.No.73

of2014andO.A.No.11(THC)/2012.Miscellaneous

applicationswerefiledbeforetheTribunalprayingfor
7

vacatingtheorderdated17.04.2014.Againstorder

dated17.04.2014,C.A.No.5756of2014wasfiledbya

coalmineowner.Themiscellaneousapplicationwasalso

filedbytheStateCoordinationCommitteeofthe

JaintiaHillsDistrict,Meghalaya(oneofthe

appellantsbeforeus)fortheirimpleadment,whichwas

allowed.ThisCourtdismissedtheCivilAppealfiled

againsttheorderdated17.04.2014passedbythe

Tribunal,however,grantedlibertytotheappellantto

approachtheTribunalformodificationoftheorder.

TheTribunalalsonoticedinitsorderdated09.06.2014

thattherehasbeenseriousair,waterand

environmentalpollutionbeingcausedbytheillegal,

unregulatedandindiscriminaterat-holeminingbeing

carriedoninvariouspartsoftheStateofMeghalaya.

Seriouspollutiontotheupstreamwasalsonoticed.The

Tribunal,however,noticedthattherearedocumentson

recordtoshowthatrightfromtheyear2003,therehas

beenseriousairandwaterpollutioninthemining

areasofMeghalayawhichisinjuriousandhasnotonly

resultedindegradationofenvironment,particularly

thestreamsandundergroundwater,buthasalso
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seriouslyjeopardisedthehumanhealth.Itwasfurther

noticedthatTransportationofcoalinanillegal,

unregulated,indiscriminateandunscientificmanner

hasresultedinseriousdiseasestothepeople.The

reportoftheCommitteedated09.06.2014wasnoticed

bytheTribunal.Byorderdated09.06.2014while

permittingthetransportationofthealreadyextracted

coallyinginopenneartheminingsites,constituted

acommitteeforsupervisingsuchtransportation.

Variousotherdirectionswereissuedtothecommittee

aswellastotheStateanditsauthorities.

6.Byasubsequentorderdated01.08.2014theTribunal

noticedthatthecommitteeearlierconstitutedbyorder

dated09.06.2014failedtoperformthefunctions

assignedtoit,hence,anewcommitteewasconstituted.

TheTribunalfromtimetotimeissuedvarious

directions.Weneedtonoticefourorderspassedbythe

Tribunalindetailwhicharesubjectmatterof

challengeintheseappeals.Theorderswhichare

subjectmatterintheseappealsareordersdated

25.03.2015,10.05.2016,31.08.2018and04.01.2019.
9

Orderdated25.03.2015

7.Inorderdated25.03.2015NGTnoticedthatthe

rampant,illegal,unscientificandlife-threatening

miningactivity,particularlyratholeminingisgoing

onintheStateofMeghalayaforyears.TheNGTnoticed

thereportofCommissionerappointedbyitandopined

thatinspiteoforderdated17.04.2014freshmining

wasgoingon.TheTribunalalsonoticedthatStateof

MeghalayahaspromulgatedaMiningPolicyof2012which

doesnotdealwithratholemining.TheState

Governmentwasalsodirectedtoformulateanddeclare

MiningPolicyandGuidelinesfortheStateofMeghalaya

todealwithallaspectsofmining,whichPolicywas

yettoseethelightoftheday.TheTribunalalso

noticedthattheorderoftheTribunalhasbeen

violatedbyillegalminingdespitecompleteprohibitory

orders.ItwasnoticedthattheStateGovernmenthas

foundasmanyas73casesofillegaltransportationof

coalinoneDistrict.Further,15morecasesof

specificviolationoftheNGTordershadalreadybeen

registeredbytheStateGovernment.Inall11Districts

ofStateofMeghalaya,308casesofviolationhavebeen
10

registeredandatotalnumberof605trucksand2675.63

tonnesofcoalhasbeenseized.ThestandoftheState

foranon-complianceanditsinabilitytocomplywith

thedirectionwasalsonoticedtothefollowingeffect:

“(a)Lackofforcesofcarryoutcounter
insurgencyoperationsandimplementationof
NGTorders.

(b)TheStateGovernmentproposestoapproach
theCentralGovernmentforclaimingan
exemption,intermsofpara12A(b)ofthe
VIthScheduleoftheConstitutionofIndia
andfromtheconditionofpreviousapproval
oftheCentralGovernmentundertheMineand
MineralRuleRegulationAct,1957inrespect
ofreconnaissance,prospectingandminingof
coalandfromtheoperationsofSectionCoalMines
NationalisationAct.”

8.TheTribunalissueddirectionsthattheAdditional

Secretary,NorthEastintheMinistryofHome,Central

Governmentshall,withinaperiodoftwoweeks,holda

meetingwiththeChiefSecretaryoftheStateof

MeghalayaandotherconcernedAuthoritiesandconsider

theproposaloftheStateofMeghalaya.TheTribunal

alsoexpresseditsdisapprovalfortheconductofthe

StateinnotformulatingappropriatePolicyand

Guidelines.TheTribunalfurtherobservedthatthe

miningintheStatecannotbepermitted,unless
11

appropriatepolicyispreparedbytheStateGovernment.

9.TheTribunalalsonoticedthatthereishuge

environmentaldegradationandpollutionofthewater

intheStateofMeghalayaandobservedthatserious

stepsarerequiredtobetakenforcleaningpolluted

waterbodies,withtheaboveobjectivetheTribunal

authorisedtheStateGovernmenttocollect10%onthe

marketvalueofthecoalinadditiontotheroyally

payabletoit.Inthisregardfollowingdirectionswere

issued:

“Itisalsoundisputablethattherehas
beenhugeenvironmentaldegradationand
pollutionofthewaterbodyintheStateof
Meghalaya,becauseofthisillegal,
unscientificmining.Noonehaseventhought
ofrestorationoftheareainquestion,to
bringtosomeextent,ifnotcompletely,
restorationofecologyandenvironmentin
question.Seriousstepsarerequiredtobe
takenforcleaningpollutedwaterbodiesand
ensurethatnofurtherpollutioniscaused
bythisactivityandtheactivitywhichwould
bepermittedtobecarriedonfinally
includingtransportationofcoal.Onthe
basisof`PolluterPayPrinciple’.Wedirect
thattheStateGovernmentshallinaddition
totheroyaltypayabletoit,shallalso
collect10%onthemarketvalueofthecoal
foreveryconsignment.Havingheardthe
learnedCounselappearingforthepartiesand
keepinginviewthenotificationsofthe
CentralGovernmentdated10.05.2012andthat
12

oftheStateGovernmentdated22.06.2012,we
maynoticethatinthereportofComptroller
andAuditorGeneralofIndiafortheperiod
ending31stMarch,2013under7.5.18of
Chapter7ofwhichtheinvoicevalueofthe
coalhasbeentakenRs.4850/-permetric
tonne.

Thus,wedirectthattheStateGovernment
shallinadditiontotheroyaltypayableto
it,alsocollect10%ofthesaidmarketvalue
ofthecoalpermetrictonnefromeach
person.Theamountsocollectedshallbe
depositedintheaccounttobetitledas
‘MeghalayaEnvironmentProtectionand
RestorationFund’tobemaintainedbythe
StateunderthedirectcontroloftheChief
SecretaryoftheStateofMeghalaya.

Thisamountshallonlybeusedfor
restorationofenvironmentandfornecessary
remedialandpreventivemeasuresinregard
toenvironmentandmattersrelatedthereto.”

10.Certainotherdirectionswereissuedbythe

Tribunalvideorderdated25.03.2015.

Orderdated10.05.2016

11.Orderdated10.05.2016hasbeenchallengedbyKA

HimaNongstoinLandOwners,CoalTradersandProducers

Association.TheNGTvideitsorderdated23.12.2015

hadpermittedtransportationofcoalfortheperiod

till15.05.2016.Byorderdated31.03.2016,NGTrefused

tofurtherextendthetimefortransportationand
13

directedthatafter15.05.2016allextractedcoalshall

vestintheState.Aggrievedagainstorderdated

31.03.2016KAHimaNongstoinLandOwners,CoalTraders

andProducersAssociationfiledC.A.No.4793of2016

beforethisCourt,whichwasdisposedofbygranting

libertytotheappellanttofileapplicationbeforethe

NGT.PursuanttothelibertygrantedbythisCourt

M.A.No.427of2016wasfiledbeforetheNGT.Byorder

dated10.05.2016applications,M.A.Nos.400and427of

2016weredismissed.BythesameordertheStateof

Meghalayawasdirectedtoplaceonrecordtheexact

currentquantityofcoalandvaluethereofincluding

thestatusofthecoallyingandminedanywhereinthe

StateofMeghalayaason01.04.2015andtheexact

quantityofcoallyingason16.05.2016.Thestatewas

alsodirectedtosubmititsproposalastohowthe

Stateshalldealwiththecoalthatisvestedinthe

Stateprimarilyforthereasonsthatentirecoalis

illegallyextractedcoal.

Orderdated31.08.2018

12.On31.08.2018,theTribunalnoticingtheearlier

proceedingsalsonotedthatfewissuesarepending
14

beforethisCourtarisingoutoforderspassedbythe

Tribunal.Inparagraph10oftheorderfollowinghas

beennoticed:

“10.Atthisstage,wemaynotethat
followingissuesarependingbeforethe
Hon’bleSupremeCourtarisingoutoforders
passedbythisTribunal:

i)CivilAppealNo(s).5272/2016titled
asKaHimaNongstoinLandOwners,
CoalTradersandProducers
AssociationVs.AllDimasaStudents
Union,DimaHasaoDistrictCommittee
andOrs.,whereinfollowingorderwas
passedon21.09.2016:

“Havingheardcounselfortheparties,
itisdirectedthatthepetitioners,as
wellastherespondents,whohavemined
thecoal,arepermittedtotransportthe
coalonpaymentofroyaltyandotherfees
asfixedbytheNationalGreenTribunal
(forshort,‘theTribunal’)andother
relevantstatus.Theextractedcoalcan
betransportedfrom1stOctober,2016
till31stMay,2017.Itisfurther
directedthatnootherextractionshall
takeplaceinthemeantime.

ThefindingoftheTribunalthatthe
coalisvestedintheStateontheground
thatitisillegallyextractedcoal,
shallbeadvertedtoatthetimeoffinal
hearing.Theminersshallkeepthe
accountsandif,ultimately,itisheld
thatthecoalbelongstotheState,they
willrefundtheamountwithinterest.The
quantumofinterestshallbedetermined
atthetimeoffinalhearing.Needless
tosay,theseobservationshavebeenmade
15

withoutprejudicetothecontentionsto
beraisedbythelearnedcounselforthe
parties.Thetribunalcanproceedwith
regardtotheotheraspectswhichare
pendingbeforeit.”

Theaboveordershowsthatquestion
whethercoalisvestedintheStateistobe
goneintobeforetheHon’bleSupremeCourt.

Thereafter,on28.03.2018,bythesaid
order,timefortransportingalready
extractedcoalwasextendedupto31.05.2018
butitwasclearthatnofurtherextraction
shallbeallowed.

ii)CivilAppealDiaryNo.3067/2018
titledasLberLalooVs.AllDimasaStudents
Union,DimaHasaoDistrictCommitteeand
Ors.,raisingthequestionwhetherbanon
miningcanbecontinued.Weareinformedthat
inthesaidmatter,theissueofminingplan
hasalsobeenraised.”

13.TheTribunalfurtherdirectedthatbanonrathole

miningshallcontinuesubjecttofurtherordersofthis

Court.Banontransportationofextractedcoalwill

alsocontinuesubjecttofurtherorders.Following

directionswereissuedinparagraph13:

“13.Accordingly,wedirectthatordersof
banofrat-holeminingwillcontinue,subject
tofurtherordersoftheHon’bleSupreme
Court.Banoftransportationofthealready
minedmaterialwillalsocontinuesubjectto
furtherordersoftheHon’bleSupremeCourt.

TheStateofMeghalayawillbethe
receiver/custodianoftheavailable

extractedcoalasondate,subjecttofurther
16

ordersoftheHon’bleSupremeCourt.Ifany
furthercoalnotsofarrecordedinthe
inventoryisavailable,aseparateinventory
maybemadeandifitisfoundthatthe
extractionwasillegal,royaltyintermsof
ordersalreadypassedmayalsobecollected.
ThismaybedeterminedbytheSecretaryof
MiningoftheStateofMeghalaya.Whileone
viewisthatthereisextractedcoalandnot
accountedfor,theotherviewputforward
thatitisresultofillegalmining.This
aspectmaybegoneintobytheSecretaryof
Mining,StateofMeghalayainthefirst
instance.Thesamebecross-checkedbya
jointteamofrepresentativesofCentral
PollutionControlBoardandIndianSchoolof
Mines,Dhanbad.”

14.TheTribunalalsodeliberatedonrestorationof

theenvironmentandrehabilitationofthevictimsfor

whichfundswereavailable.TheTribunalconstituteda

committeeheadedbyJusticeB.P.Katakey,FormerJudge

oftheGauhatiHighCourtwithrepresentativesfrom

CentralPollutionControlBoardandIndianSchoolof

Mines,Dhanbad.Paragraphs14to28oftheorderare

relevantinthiscontextwhichareasfollows:

“14.Onlylastquestionwhichremainsisof
restorationoftheenvironmentand
rehabilitationofthevictimsforwhichfunds
areavailable.Weareoftheviewthatfor
thistask,itwillappropriatethatwe
constituteanindependentCommittee.This
CommitteewillbeheadedbyJusticeB.P.

Katakey,FormerJudgeoftheGuwahatiHigh
CourtwithrepresentativesfromCentral
17

PollutionControlBoardandIndianSchoolof
Mines,Dhanbad.

15.TheCommitteewilltakethefollowing
steps:

•Takestockofallactionstakensofarin
thisregard.

•Preparetimeboundactionplantodeal
withtheissueandensureits
implementation.

16.TheCommitteemayrequisitionservicesof
suchtechnicalexpertsasmaybenecessaryand
mayalsocarryoutvisitstositeswhenever
necessary.Theywillbeentitledtoall
logisticsupportforperformingthese
functionswhichshallbeprovidedunderthe
directionsoftheChiefSecretary,Meghalaya.

17.TheCommitteemayalsosetupwebsitefor
receivingandgivinginformationonsubject.

18.TheCommitteemayalsoinvolveeducational
institutionsforawarenessandfeedbackabout
results.

19.AllauthoritiesconcernedintheStateof
Meghalayashallcooperateandcoordinatewith
theCommittee.TheCommitteecanseeksuch
technicalassistanceasmayberequiredfrom
anyrelevantauthority.

20.TheChiefSecretary,Meghalayatoprovide
allfacilitiestosaidCommitteetoperform
itsfunctions.TheCommitteemaysendits
periodicalreportstotheTribunalbye-mail
[email protected]

21.TheCommitteemayassumeitschargewithin
twoweeksfromtoday.TheCommitteemay
prepareActionPlanwhichshallhavetargets
18

ofensuringcompliance.Itmaymeetatsuch
intervalsasconsideredappropriatebuttwice
ineverymonthandfixtargetsforcompliance.

22.TheCommitteewillbefreetotakeupall
incidentalissues.Thecommitteewillbefree
toseekanyfurtherdirectionsfromthis
Tribunalbye-mail.

23.TheChiefSecretaryofStateofMeghalaya
maydetermineremunerationoftheChairmanin
consultationwithhimandtheChiefSecretary
oftheStateofMeghalayawillalsoprovide
alllogisticsupportincludingsecurityif
neededfortheirproperfunctioning.

25.TheCommitteewillbeentitledtotakethe
helpofthetechnicalexpertsinexecutionof
thisorder.TheCommitteemayframeitsaction
planforimplementationwithinonemonthfrom
todayandimplementationmaybecompleted
withinsixmonthsasfaraspossible.The
timelinesmaybelaiddown.Acopyofthe
actionplanmaybesenttothisTribunalby
[email protected],
reportsmaybesentatleastonceintwo
months.TheCommitteemayalsoassessthe
damagetotheenvironmentaswellastothe
individualsasalreadysuggestedinthe
Report.

27.TheStateofMeghalayawillmakeavailable
alltherelevantrecordstotheCommitteefor
thepurpose.TheStatewillalsodeterminethe
remunerationtobepaidtotheChairmanofthe
Committeeinconsultationwithhimwithinone
monthfromtoday.

28.TheCommitteewillbeatlibertytotake
technicalassistancefromanyquarterwhich
maybefacilitatedbytheStateofMeghalaya.
TheCommitteemayalsosuperviseanyissue
arisingoutofreceivership/custodianshipof
thealreadyextractedcoal,includingany
19

environmentalissueswhichanyariseoutof
storageoftheextractedmaterialandthe
stepsrequiredtobetakenforthepurpose.

TheReportoftheCommitteemaybefurnished
tothisTribunalbye-mailat
[email protected]

Acopyofthisordermaybesenttoallthe
concernedauthoritiesbye-mailfor
compliance.

Allpendingmatterswillstanddisposedof
inaboveterms.

ListforconsiderationoftheReporton06th
March,2019.”

Orderdated04.01.2019

15.JusticeKatakeysubmitteditsreportbeforethe

Tribunalon02.01.2019.Committee’svarious

proceedingswhichwerepartofthereportwerenoticed

indetailbytheNGT.Inparagraph21oftheorder

followingwasnoticed:

“21.UnderissuenumberD,itwasnotedthat
theMeghalayaStatePollutionControlBoard
initsreportinSeptember,1997hadnoted
thatunplannedandunscientificcoalmining
activitiesweretakingplace.Thishad
achieveddangerousdimensionsinthelasttwo
decadescreatingecologicaldisturbanceand
adverseenvironmentalimpacts.Thisshowed
thatthoughcognizanceoftheproblemwas
takenintheyear1997,theproblemcontinues
even20yearsthereafter.TheStatePollution
ControlBoardhad,intheyear1997,
20

recommendedstepstocheckillegalmining
includinggenerationofawareness,
legislativemeasures,useoftechnology,
carryingoutofstudybutnoneofthe
recommendationswereimplementedevenafter
21years.”

16.TheTribunalafterconsideringthereportofthe

committeeandothermaterialsonrecordcametothe

conclusionthattheStateofMeghalayahadfailedto

performitsdutiestoactontherecommendationofthe

reportoftheMeghalayaStatePollutionControlBoard

submittedintheyear1997.TheTribunalopinedthat

interimamountbedepositedtowardsrestorationofthe

environment.Paragraphs31to33areasfollows:

“31.Payingcapacityandtheamountwhichmay
actasdeterrenttopreventfurtherdamage
isalsowellrecognised.NetPresentValue
oftheecologicalservicesforegoneandcost
ofdamagetoenvironmentandpristine
ecology,thecostofillegalminedmaterial,
andthecostofmitigationandrestoration
arealsorelevantfactors.TheCommitteemay
gointotheseaspectstodeterminethefinal
figure.

32.Wearesatisfiedthathavingregardto
thetotalityoffactualsituationemerging
fromtherecord,damagesrequiredtobe
recoveredarenot,primafacie,lessthanRs.
100Crores.Accordingly,bywayofaninterim
measure,werequiretheStateofMeghalaya
todepositRs.100croreswithintwomonths
withtheCPCBinthisregard.

21

33.Wehavealreadynotedtheextentof
damagefoundandthevalueoftheillegally
minedmaterial,apartfromclandestinemining
forwhichsufficientmaterialisnot
available.TheStatehadcollected,asnoted
intheearlierorder,royaltyofRs.400
croreswhichbynowmustbehigherfigure.”

17.TheStateofMeghalayahasfiledtwoappealsbeing

C.A.No.10720of2018andC.A.No.2968of2019.

C.A.No.10720of2018hasbeenfiledquestioningthe

orderdated31.08.2018passedbytheTribunalbywhich

theTribunaldirectedthatorderofthebanofrat-

holeminingwillcontinueandfurtherconstituted

JusticeB.P.Katakeycommitteetotakestepsfor

restorationoftheenvironmentandrehabilitationof

thevictims.TheotherCivilAppealNo.2968of2019

hasbeenfiledbytheStateofMadhyaPradesh

questioningtheorderdated04.01.2019bywhichState

ofMeghalayawasdirectedtodepositinterimamountof

Rs.100crorestowardsrestorationoftheenvironment.

18.Againstthesameorderdated31.08.2018twoother

appealshavebeenfiledbeingC.A.No.10611of2018by

theStateCoordinationCommitteeofCoalOwners,

MinersandDealersForumandC.A.No.10907of2018by
22

GaroHillsAutonomousDistrictCouncilaggrievedby

theperpetualbanofcoalminingbyorderdated

31.08.2018withoutconsideringillegalityoftheban

inthefirstplace.Theappellantsarealsoaggrieved

byappointmentofStateGovernmentreceiver/custodian

oftheextractedcoalwhenthereisnodisputeofthe

ownershipofthecoalandfurtherthequestionof

vestingofthecoalintheStateispending

considerationinthisCourtinC.A.No.5272of2016.

19.C.A.No.10907of2018isfiledbyGaroHills

AutonomousDistrictCouncilwhichisaggrievedbythe

orderoftheTribunaldated31.08.2018bywhichithas

confirmedthebanoncoalminingwhichwasinforce

foroverfouryearsandfurtherdirectionbythe

Tribunaltoconstituteacommitteeforthedisposalof

fundsinexcessofRs.400crores.Theappellantsare

aggrievedbytheaboveandallegedthattheTribunal

failedtoconsiderthatconstitutingthecommittee

withoutconsideringtherolesandresponsibilitiesof

theDistrictCouncilhastheeffectofvirtually

excludingtheCouncilfromissuesconcerning
23

administrationofforestsandlandswhicharewithin

theexclusivejurisdictionoftheCouncil.Thebanon

coalmininghaseffectivelyclosedthedoorsonamajor

sourceofrevenueforthefunctioningoftheDistrict

Council,whichisempoweredintermsofSixthSchedule

oftheConstitutiontocollecttaxes.

20.C.A.No.5272of2016byKAHimaNongstoinLand

Owners,CoalTradersandProducersAssociationhas

beenfiledagainstorderdated10.05.2016bywhich

MiscellaneousApplicationsNo.400and420of2016were

dismissed.Theappellantshadprayedformodification

andclarificationand/orrecallofthefinalorder

dated31.03.2016bywhichTribunaldirectedfor

vestingofthedulyassessedalreadyextractedcoal

withtheStateofMeghalayaandrefusingtoextendthe

timefortransportationofthealreadyextractedcoal.

Theappellantsclaimforproprietyrightsofits

membersoversuchcoal,whichwereminedasper

prevailingcustompriorto17.04.2014.

21.Now,remainsappealbeingCivilAppealof

2019(@DiaryNo.3067of2018)filedonbehalfofthe
24

LberLaloo.Theappellanthasfiledthisappealagainst

theorderdated25.03.2015.Aggrievedbytheblanket

banonminingactivitiesimposedintheStateof

MeghalayabytheNGTwhich,accordingtotheappellant,

isadverselyaffectingthelivesandlivelihoodofthe

minersintheStateofMeghalaya.Asaresultofban

oncoalmininglargenumberofthefamiliesare

affectedintheStateofMeghalaya,whoaredependent

fortheirlivelihoodoncoalmining.

Submissions

22.WehaveheardShriShekharNaphade,learnedsenior

counsel,ShriAmrendraSharan,learnedseniorcounsel,

ShriAmitKumar,AdvocateGeneral,fortheStateof

Meghalaya.WealsoheardShriRanjanMukherjee

appearingfortheStateofMeghalaya.ShriRanjit

Kumar,learnedseniorcounsel,appearingforthe

appellantinC.A.DiaryNo.3067of2018andShriRaju

Ramachandran,learnedseniorcounsel,appearingfor

theappellantinC.A.No.10907/2018.ShriColin

Gonsalves,learnedseniorcounselhasbeenheardas

amicuscuriae.Wehavealsoheardlearnedcounselfor
25

respondentNo.1inC.A.No.5272of2016(whowasthe

applicantbeforetheNGT).ShriNidheshGupta,learned

seniorcounselhasbeenheardfortheprivate

respondentsinC.A.No.5272of2016.ShriA.N.S.

Nadkarni,learnedAdditionalSolicitorGeneralhas

beenheardfortheUnionofIndia.Wehavealsoheard

otherlearnedcounselwhowerepermittedtointervene

inthematterandraisevariousargumentsinrespect

oftheirdifferentIAs.

23.ShriShekharNaphade,learnedseniorcounselled

theargumentsonbehalfoftheStateofMeghalaya.

ShriNaphadesubmitsthatjurisdictionofNGT

constitutedunderSectionNationalGreenTribunalAct,2010is

confinedtoSections14,Section15andSection16.Section16isnot

attractedinthepresentcase.Section14dealswith

originaljurisdictionofNGTandittakeswithinits

compassorallofcivilcaseswhereasubstantial

questionrelatingtoenvironment(including

enforcementofanylegalrightrelatingto

environment)isinvolvedandsuchquestionarisesout

oftheimplementationoftheenactmentsspecifiedin
26

ScheduleI.Thejurisdictiondependsupontwo

conditionswhicharerequiredtobesatisfied

cumulativelyandtheyare:(1)substantialquestion

whichrelatestoenvironmentand(2)implementationof

theenactmentsspecifiedinScheduleI.Itissubmitted

thatMinesandMinerals(DevelopmentandSectionRegulation)

Act,1957(hereinafterreferredtoas“SectionMMDRAct,1957”)

notbeingspecifiedinScheduleI,theNationalGreen

Tribunalcouldnothaveexercisedjurisdictionto

examineviolationofSectionMMDRAct,1957.Itissubmitted

thattheNGTcommittederrorinholdingthatthecoal

mininginStateofMeghalayaisunregulated.TheNGT

proceededonerroneouspremisethattheTribalsof

Meghalayacannotdocoalminingwithoutobtaining

leasefromtheStateGovernment.Itissubmittedthat

Tribalswhoareownersofthelandarealsoownersof

thesub-soilandthemineralsintheland.Thelandin

theStateofMeghalayawaspropertyofmenand

villages.TheKhasiHills,JaintiaHillsandGaroHills

havedifferentlandtenuresystemoftheirown,which

doesnotprovideforvestingoflandormineralsin

theStaterightfrompre-Independenceperiod.
27

24.ShriNaphadesubmitsthattheownershipof

mineralsvestswiththeownerofthelandunlessthe

ownerofthelandisdeprivedofthesamebysomevalid

processoflaw,forexample,theprovisioncontained

inLandRevenueCodesofdifferentStates,which

categoricallystatethattheownershipofminerals

exclusivelyvestsintheStateGovernment.However,in

theStateofMeghalaya,thereexistsnosuchlawthat

deprivestheownerofthelandfromowningtheminerals

beneathit.

25.ShriNaphadesubmitsthatunderSectionMMDRAct,1957,

Statehasnolegislativeorexecutivepowerwithregard

tocoal,whichisamajormineral.Itcanneither

exerciseanyjurisdictionofgrantinganymininglease

totheTribalsnorithasanyjurisdictiontoframe

anyminingpolicy.Itissubmittedthattheprovisions

oftheSectionMMDRActdealwithleaseandprospecting

licence.TheTribalsofMeghalayaareownersofthe

mineralslocatedintheirland.Sincetheyarethe

owners,thereisnoquestionoftheybeingrequiredto
28

obtaineitheraprospectinglicenceoramininglease.

Theconceptsofleaseandlicencenecessarilyinvolve

minimumtwopartiestothetransaction-incaseofa

license,therehastobealicensorandlicensee.The

ownerofmineralscannotgivelicenceorleaseto

himselforgrantaprospectinglicence.TheStateis

nottheownerofthemineralsand,therefore,itcannot

onitsowngrantprospectinglicenceorleaseasit

hasnoproprietaryrightinrespectofsuchminerals.

Statecanneitherbealicensornoralessorinsuch

situation.

26.ShriNaphadereiteratesthatthewholepremiseof

NGTthatthecoalminingintheStateofMeghalayais

unregulatedisfullyerroneous.Referringtonorth-

easternareaunderwhichtheStateofMeghalayawas

establishedasfull-fledgedState,itissubmitted

thatadministrationofTribalareasistobegoverned

asperSixthScheduleoftheConstitutionofIndiaand

variousorderspassedbytheNGTdirectlyinterfered

intheadministrationofTribalareawhichisvested

intheAutonomousDistrictCouncils.Itissubmitted
29

thatNGTfailedtoconsidertherelevantstatutory

matrixincludingtheprovisionsofSixthScheduleand

legislationframedbytheAutonomousDistrict

Councils.ItissubmittedthatNGThasnojurisdiction

toconstituteanycommitteeforthepurposeof

enforcingitsorders.Theconstitutionofcommittees

includingconstitutionofJusticeB.P.Katakey,former

JudgeoftheGauhatiHighCourtbytheimpugnedorder

dated31.08.2018isbeyondthejurisdictionofNGT.

Theconstitutionofthecommitteeisinterferencewith

thejurisdictionofAutonomousDistrictCouncil.Itis

furthersubmittedthatNGThasalsonojurisdictionto

createanyfund.TheTribunalbyconstitutingthe

committeeandbyconstitutingafundhascreateda

parallelGovernment.TheTribunalnotbeinga

constitutionalcourtitcannotissueacontinuous

mandamus.ItissubmittedthatTribunalalthough

issuedseveraldirectionstotheStateofMeghalayato

frameminingpolicywhereastheStatehasno

jurisdictionregardingframingofminingpolicyunder

SectionMMDRAct,1957,theStateisdenudedwithany

legislativepowerswithregardtoregulationand
30

developmentofminerals,whichhavebeendeclaredby

theUniontohavetakenunderitscontrol.Referring

toEIAnotificationdated14.09.2006issuedunder

SectionEnvironmentProtectionAct,1986,hesubmittedthat

environmentclearanceforminingwasrequiredonly

whenareaofminingwasmorethanfivehectares.In

TribalareasofStateofMeghalaya,miningarea

consistsofsmallareawhichbeingnotmorethanfive

hectares,therewasnorequirementofobtainingan

environmentclearance.Hedoesnotdisputethatafter

15.01.2016bytheEIAnotificationnowtherequirement

ofareaofbeingnotmorethanfivehectareshaving

beendeletedenvironmentclearanceisrequiredason

datewithregardtocarryingminingoperations.The

Tribalsaredependentfortheirlivelihoodoncoal

miningand,therefore,bycompletebanoncoalmining

witheffectfrom17.04.2014,largenumberofTribals

aredeprivedfromtheirlivelihoodanditisobligatory

fortheStatetoespousethecauseoftheTribals,who

individuallywerenotbeforetheNGT.Therebeingno

jurisdictionintheStateofMeghalayatograntmining

leaseasperspecialnatureoflandtenureinthe
31

TribalareasofStateofMeghalayaandfurtherminerals

arenotvestedintheStateofMeghalaya,theNGTerred

inholdingthatStatehasfailedtocarryonits

obligationandfailedtocheckcoalminingintheState

ofMeghalaya,itisCentralGovernmentwhichhaveall

jurisdictionandauthoritiesunderAct,1957tomake

necessaryRulesandissuenecessarydirectionsand

Statealonecannotbeblamed.ReferringtoMinerals

ConcessionRules,1960framedunderSection13ofMMDR

Act,1957,itissubmittedthateventhoughRule13(f)

referstominingapplicationwithregardtolandof

whichmineralsvestinpersonsotherthanthe

Government,hesubmitsthatthisprovisionshallnot

applyforownerwhenhehimselfcarriesonthemining,

thequestionoftakingleasemayarisewhenownerof

thelandgivelandtosomeotherpersontominethe

minerals.

27.ShriNaphade,however,submitsthattheprovisions

oftheSectionMinesAct,1952areapplicableandhavetobe

compliedwith.HereferredtotheMineralConservation
32

andDevelopmentRules,1988,wherecesscanbecharged

bytheState.

28.ShriAmrendraSharan,learnedseniorcounsel

appearingfortheStateofMeghalayainC.A.No.2968

of2019submitsthatNGTvideimpugnedorderdated

04.01.2019hasdirectedtheStateofMeghalayato

depositRs.100croresasaninterimmeasurewhichis

whollyunsustainable.TheNGThaspassedtheorder

dated04.01.2019relyingonfirstinterimreportof

theCommitteeheadedbyJusticeB.P.Katakey,former

JudgeoftheGauhatiHighCourt.Theconstitutionof

committeewasitselfbeyondthejurisdictionofthe

NGT.ShriSharanadoptsthesubmissionsmadebyShri

Naphadeandinadditiontothosesubmissions,submits

thatorderdated04.01.2019hasbeenpassedin

violationofprinciplesofnaturaljusticesinceno

opportunitywasgiventotheStateofMeghalayato

respondtothereportofthecommitteeusedagainstit

forimposingapenaltyofRs.100crores.Theorder

impugnedhasbeenmadebytheNGTcontrarytothe

findingsrecordedinthereportofthecommitteeof
33

JusticeB.P.Katakey.Theimpugnedorderdated

04.01.2019hasbeenpassedbytheNGTwithoutany

assessmentofdamageofenvironmentwhatsoever.The

Tribunalalsodidnotnoticeitsearlierorderdated

25.03.2015whereinpenaltyhasalreadybeenimposedon

actualpolluters,i.e.,coalminersandtransporters

basedonPollutersPayPrincipleforwhichFund,

namely,MeghalayaEnvironmentProtectionand

RestorationFund(hereinafterreferredtoas“MEPRF”)

hasalreadybeencreated.TheNGTpassedorderdated

04.01.2019withoutconsideringtheconcernedstatutory

provisionstodetermineastowhoisresponsiblefor

implementationoftheminingstatutesandthe

environmentallegislationintheStateofMeghalaya.

ThestateofMeghalayahaslimitedsourceofrevenue

andputtingextraburdenofRs.100Croresshallshatter

theeconomyofthestate.

29.ShriRajuRamachandran,learnedseniorcounsel,

insupportofappellant,GaroHillsAutonomous

DistrictCouncilinCivilAppealNo.10907of2018

submitsthattheNGTwhilepassingorderdated
34

31.08.2018hasignoredtheSixthScheduleofthe

Constitution.Byorderdated31.08.2018,theNGTcould

nothaveconstitutedthecommittee.ReferringtoSixth

ScheduleoftheConstitution,ShriRajuRamachandran

submitsthatunderpara2,DistrictCouncils,Regional

CouncilshavebeenconstitutedandalsoHillsDistrict

CouncilisaCouncilcreatedundertheSixthSchedule

oftheconstitutionframedunderSectionArticle244(2)and

SectionArticle275(1)oftheConstitutionofIndia.The

constitutionofcommitteebytheNGThasvirtually

affectedDistrictAutonomousCouncilfromissues

concerningadministrationofforestsandlandswithin

theexclusivejurisdictionofthecouncil.Thebanof

coalmininghasdeprivedtheappellantfrommajor

sourceofRevenue.Underpara8ofSixthSchedule,

AutonomousDistrictCouncilisentitledtosharethe

RevenuefrommineralsroyaltycollectedbytheState

Government.Theimpugnedorderhasbeenpassedwithout

hearingandtakingnoteofexistenceofshareholders

orstakeofshareholders.ShriRajuRamachandran

furthersubmitsthatNGThasdisposedofOA

Nos.73/2014,13/2014and186/2014byorderdated
35

31.08.2018afterthis,itcouldnothavepassedany

order.

30.Learnedcounselfortheappellantinsupportof

C.A.No.5272of2016submitsthattheappealfiledby

theappellantisonlyforseekingprotectionofthe

proprietaryrightsofitsmembersoverthecoalwhich

wasminedasperprevailingcustompriorto17.04.2014.

Itissubmittedthatbyorderdated31.03.2016,NGT

hadtakentheviewthatallcoalafter2016shallvest

intheState.Theappellanthadpreviouslyapproached

thisCourtbyfilingC.A.No.4793of2016againstthe

orderdated31.03.2016whereinthisCourtgrantedthe

libertytotheappellanttoapproachtheNGTforfiling

applicationforclarificationoftheorder.The

applicationoftheappellantforclarificationwas

rejectedbytheNGTwithoutgivinganyreason.TheNGT

hadoverreachedthescopeofitsjurisdictionand

authorityindirectingforvestingofthecoal

extractedbythemembersfromtheirlandintheState.

ItisfurthersubmittedthatSectionMMDRAct,1957wasenacted

bytheParliamenttoregulatetheminingactivitiesin
36

thecountrywhichdoesnotinanymannerpurportto

declaretheproprietaryrightstotheStateinthe

minerals.

31.Mr.RanjitKumar,learnedseniorcounselin

supportofC.A.(D)No.3067of2018submitsthatthe

Tribunalcommittederrorinstoppingtheentirecoal

miningintheStateofMeghalaya.ReferringtoSection

15ofNGTAct,2010,ShriRanjitKumarsubmitsthat

relief,compensationandrestitutioncanbegrantedas

providedinSection15.Itissubmittedthatby

stoppingentirecoalminingfrom17.04.2014the

livelihoodofappellantandseveralsimilarlysituated

personshadbeenadverselyaffected.Itissubmitted

thattheTribunaloughttohaveliftedtheban.Order

impugnedinfringesrightunderSectionArticle21ofthe

ConstitutionofIndia.TheTribunalhasactedbeyond

itspowerunderSection15ofNGTAct,2010.The

findingoftheTribunalonminingthatintheStateof

Meghalayaminingisunregulatedisnotcorrect,

whereas,aminerisrequiredtogetregisteredandit

hastopayroyaltyfixedbytheStateofMeghalaya.
37

32.ShriRanjanMukherjee,learnedcounselappearing

forrespondentNo.2,StateofMeghalayain

C.A.No.3067(D)of2019submitsthatevenifrat-hole

mininghasbeenbanned,allminingcannotbebanned.

HesubmitsthattheMeghalayaMinesandMinerals

Policy,2012hasbeenformulatedwithanaimto

facilitatesystematic,scientificandplanned

utilisationofmineralresourcesandtostreamline

mineralbaseddevelopmentoftheState.TheStateof

Meghalayahasbeencreatedtofollowthecustomary

rightsandpracticesofcoalminingintheTribalareas

ofMeghalaya.InthisregardletterofCentral

Governmentdated02.07.1987hasalsobeenrelied.The

draftguidelinesforcoalminingactivitiesinthe

Statehasalsobeenframedintheyear2015.Although,

NGThasdirectedMinistryofEnvironmentandForests

tolookintothematterbutnoobjectionhasbeen

communicatedtotheStateexceptcertainminer

discrepancies.

38

33.ShriA.S.Nadkarni,learnedAdditionalSolicitor

GeneralappearingfortheUnionofIndiasubmitsthat

provisionsofSectionMMDRAct,1957arealsoapplicablein

theTribalareasofStateofMeghalaya.Therequest

submittedbytheGovernmentofMeghalayaforissuance

ofPresidentialNotificationunderParagraph12A(b)of

theSixthScheduleoftheConstitutionofIndiafor

exemptingtheStateofMeghalayafromcertain

provisionsoftheSectionMMDRAct,1957hasnotbeenacceded

to.TheOfficeMemorandumdated12.03.2019issuedby

theGovernmentofIndia,MinistryofCoalhasbeen

referredtoandreliedbythelearnedAdditional

SolicitorGeneralinthisregard.Itissubmittedthat

nopriorapprovalforminingrightsinrespectofarea

containingcoalhasbeengivenunderSectionMMDRAct,1957by

MinistryofCoal,GovernmentofIndiafortheStateof

Meghalaya.

34.Itissubmittedthatitisentirelyimpermissible

fortheappellantoranyotherprivatepersontoclaim

anyrightsforillegalorunlawfulminingofcoalin

derogationofthelawinforceintheStateof
39

Meghalaya.Itisfurthersubmittedthatgenerationof

revenuewouldnotbeagroundforclaimingpermission

tocarryoutminingincontravention/derogationofthe

lawinforce.AdraftguidelinesubmittedbytheState

GovernmentofMeghalayabyletterdated24.09.2015was

examinedbytheMinistryofCoal,GovernmentofIndia

onwhichdecisionwastakenthattheguidelines

submittedbytheGovernmentofMeghalayawerenotin

conformitywiththeexistingstatutoryprovisionsof

SectionMMDRAct,1957.Hence,theStateofMeghalayamay

reframetheguidelinesinconformitywithSectionMMDRAct,

1957andsubmit.Intherevisedproposaldated

25.07.2016theStateofMeghalayahadproposedcertain

amendmentsinSectionMMDRAct,1957andexemptionfromthe

applicationoftheSectionMMDRAct,1957througha

PresidentialnotificationunderPara12A(b)ofthe

SixthSchedule.Ithadalreadybeencommunicatedby

CentralGovernmentthatexemptionfromapplicability

ofMMDRAct,1957cannotbeaccededto.

35.ShriColinGonsalves,learnedseniorcounsel,

appearingasamicuscuriae,hasraisedvarious
40

submissions.Learnedamicuscuriaehassubmitteda

Reportintwovolumestitled“CURSEOFUNREGULATED

COALMININGINMEGHALAYA”,acitizen’sReportfrom

Meghalaya01/12/2018.InVolumeIunderthehead

‘INTRODUCTION’theReportstates:

“INTRODUCTON
Meghalayahasaresourcecurse.Although,we
havebeenendowedwithabundantforestsand
minerals,theseresourceshavenot
contributedtothegoodofoursociety,
becausetheyhavebeenextractedwithoutany
regulationorconcernforthelargercommon
good.Thisunregulated,narrow,self-
interestbaseduseofnaturalresourceshas
exacerbatedsocio-economicinequality,
destroyedtheenvironment,heightened
criminality,andtornasunderour
egalitariantribalsocialfabric.

ItalsoviolatesSection39(b)ofthe
Constitutionwhichprovidesthatthe
ownershipandcontrolofthematerial
resourcesofthecommunityshouldbeso
distributedsoastobestsubservethecommon
goodand,therefore,theStatecannot
distributethematerialresourceofthe
communityinanywayitlikes.Theprocess
ofdistributionmustbeguidedbythe
constitutionalprinciplesincludingthe
doctrineofequalityandlargerpublicgood.

TheNationalGreenTribunal’slandmarkorder
regardingUnregulatedandillegalcoalmining
inourstatethereforecameasawakeupcall
forMeghalayasocietyatlarge.Thisorder
hasbeencriticisedandappealedagainstby
asmallsectionoflocalsmostofwhoare
coalmineowners,transporters,politicians
andadministratorswhohave‘illegally’
41

benefittedoutofthisunregulatedminingand
whowantthingstogetbacktobusinessas
usual.CoalMinersandpoliticianswhoare
miners,truckowners,weighbridgeoperators
etc.havebeenfiledappealswiththe
HonourableSupremeCourt,askingtheHon’ble
CourttorescindNGTorderssothatmining
canonceagainbegin.”

36.LearnedamicuscuriaesubmitsthatStateof

Meghalayastillcontinueswiththeillegalmining.

ShriGonsalvessubmitsthatSection4ofMMDRAct,

1957byuseofwords“noperson”clearlyprohibits

miningoperationwithoutobtainingminingleasein

accordancewiththeAct.ReferringtoSection5,he

submitsthatforScheduleAmineralspermissionof

CentralGovernmentisrequiredwhichhasnotbeen

obtained.ShriGonsalvessubmitsthatformining,the

leasesarerequiredandpermissionbesought.He

submitsthatthereare53minesperkilometreinTribal

areasofMeghalaya.Hesubmitsthatallextractedcoal

whichisclaimedtobelyingassessedorunassessedin

theStateofMeghalayaisresultofillegalminingand

CoalIndiaLtd.bedirectedtotakeovertheentire

coal.

42

37.ShriGonsalveshasalsoreferredtovarious

reportsofComptrollerandAuditorGeneralofIndia

whichhasbeenbroughtonrecordinVolumeII–A

Citizen’sReportfromMeghalaya06/01/2019.

38.ShriNidheshGupta,learnedseniorcounsel,

appearingonbehalfofprivaterespondentinCivil

AppealNo.5272of2016hasrefutedthesubmissions

raisedbythelearnedcounselfortheappellants.Shri

NidheshGuptasubmitsthatasperEntry54ofListI

regulationofminesandmineralsdevelopmenthasbeen

declaredbytheParliamentunderSectionMMDRAct,1957.

Section2,bydeclarationascontainedinSectionMMDRAct,

1957,theStateGovernmentisdenudedofall

legislativeandexecutivepowersunderEntry23of

ListIIreadwithSectionArticle162oftheConstitutionof

India.Section4sub-section(1)makesitclearthat

nopersoncanundertakeanyreconnaissance,

prospectingorminingoperationsinanyarea,except

underandinaccordancewiththetermsandconditions

ofareconnaissancepermitorofaprospectinglicence.

AsperSection5sub-section(1)AStateGovernment
43

shallnotgrantareconnaissancepermit,prospecting

licenceorminingleasetoanypersonunlesssuch

personisanIndianNationalandsatisfiessuch

conditionsasmaybeprescribed.Theprovisoto

Section5(1)providesthatinrespectofanymineral

specifiedinPartAandPartBoftheFirstSchedule,

noreconnaissancepermit,prospectinglicenceor

miningleaseshallbegrantedexceptwiththeprevious

approvaloftheCentralGovernment.Thecontentionon

behalfoftheStateofMeghalayathattheSectionMMDRAct,

1957doesnotapplytoStateofMeghalayaisbasedon

anerroneousreadingofthestatutoryprovisions.

39.Section13empowerstheCentralGovernmenttomake

rulesforregulatingthegrantofreconnaissance

permits,prospectinglicencesandminingleasesin

respectoflandinwhichmineralsvestinthe

Governmentandalsoinrespectofanylandinwhich

themineralsvestinapersonotherthanthe

Government.InexerciseofpowersunderSection13of

theAct,theMineralConcessionRules,1960havebeen

framed.

44

40.ChapterVdealswiththeprocedureforobtaining

aprospectinglicenceoraminingleaseinrespectof

alandinwhichthemineralsvestinapersonother

thantheGovernment.ThesaidChaptercontains

provisionsfromRule41toRule52.Rule41stipulates

thattheprovisionsofthesaidChapterapplyonlyto

thegrantofprospectinglicencesandminingleasesin

respectoflandinwhichmineralsvestexclusivelyin

apersonotherthantheGovernment.Therefore,mining

leasesinrespectoflandwheremineralsvestina

personotherthantheGovernmentarecoveredbythe

saidChapterandmattersconcerninggrantof

prospectinglicencesandminingleasesaredetailed

therein.

41.AsperSection23C,theStateGovernmentis

empoweredtomakeRulesforpreventingillegalmining,

transportationandstorageofminerals.NoRuleshave

beenframedbytheStateofMeghalayaunderSection

23C.ThecontentiononbehalfofStateofMeghalaya

thatSectionMMDRActappliesonlyinthecaseswhereminerals
45

vestinGovernment,therefore,SectionMMDRActdoesnotapply

intheStateofMeghalaya,iscompletelymisconceived.

42.Learnedcounselalsoreliesonthestandtakenby

theUnionofIndiaintheStatusReportdated

24.07.2018.ShriGuptasubmitsthatapproximateprice

ofcoalisRs.10,000/-permetricton.Referringto

noticeinvitingtendersbytheStateofMeghalaya,it

issubmittedthatamountofRs.1,000/-permetricton

wascontemplated.Itissubmittedthatsellingthe

coalonmuchlowpriceiscausinglosstoRevenueas

wellaslosstootherstakeholders.Theallegations

havebeenbyShriGuptathatsaleofcoalatsuchlow

priceraisessuspicionofunderhanddealing.Itis

submittedthatlegalpositionbelaiddownbythis

CourtandtheordersoftheNGTbeupheld.

43.Inadditiontoabove,wehavealsoheardseveral

learnedcounselswhohavefiledIAforimpleadmentand

IAsfordirectionincludingdirectiontotransport

coalbelongingtothem.WehaveheardShriSiddharth
46

Luthra,ShriR.Basant,Smt.MeenakshiArora,Senior

Advocatesandotherlearnedcounsel.

44.On10.05.2019,wehadpassedanorderpermitting

transportationofcoaltotheextentof75,050metric

tonwhichwasbalancequantityfrom1,76,655metric

tonofcoal,fortransportationofwhichthisCourt

hadpassedorderon04.12.2018.Theorderdated

10.05.2019permittedtransportationofthecoal,for

whichTransportchallanshadalreadybeenissuedafter

04.12.2018underthetermsandconditionsasindicated

intheorderdated10.05.2019.Intheorderdated

10.05.2019,wehadalsoheldthatapplicantsneednot

beimpleaded,however,theywerepermittedto

interveneinthematter.

45.Thecounselappearingfordifferentapplicants

claimtransportationofdifferentquantityofcoal

whichaccordingtothemhasnowbeenassessed.Still

someoftheapplicantsclaimstransportationofthe

coalwhichisyettobeassessed.Indifferent

applications,differentquantitiesareclaimedtobe
47

transportedwhichaccordingtotheapplicantislying

indifferentdistrictsoftheStateofMeghalaya.

I.A.No.22981of2019andI.A.No.22991of2019are

applicationsbyanapplicantclaimingtobeauction

purchaser.Learnedcounselsubmittedthathewas

declaredhighestbidder,hepleadedforextensionof

timetodeposittheamountbutaftertheorderdated

15.01.2019,hewasnotpermittedtotransportthecoal

norhecoulddepositthebalanceauctionmoney.

46.ShriRanjanMukherjee,learnedcounselappearing

forStateofMeghalayahasfiledanadditional

affidavitofCommissionerandSecretarytothe

GovernmentofMeghalaya,MiningandGeologyDepartment

dated06.04.2019.Intheaffidavit,itisstatedthat

inpursuanceoftheorderofNGTdated31.08.2018,the

StateGovernmentvidenotificationdated14.09.2018

hasconstitutedateamtoassisttheCommissionerand

Secretarytodealwiththedirectivesgiveninpara13

oftheorderoftheNGT.Itissubmittedthatin

pursuanceoftheorderoftheStateGovernmentdated

14.09.2018,themembersofthecommitteehavecarried
48

outassessmentofunassessedextractedcoalappearing

inthedatasheetofinventoryindifferenthills

district.Thereportdated04.10.2018ofDeputy

Commissioner,westKhasihills,isfiledasAnnexure

A-3,containingthestatementofunassessedextracted

coalhasbeenbroughtonrecord.Anotherreportdated

22.10.2018and16.11.2018ofwestKhasihillsdistrict

containingthestatementofassessmentofunassessed

extractedcoalhasbeenbroughtonrecord.Byreport

dated12.11.2018ofDeputyCommissioner,Southwest

Khasihills,datasheetofcoalinventoryhasbeen

broughtontherecord.Reportdated30.10.2018,Deputy

Commissioner,SouthGarohills,hasalsobeenbrought

onrecord.Therewerereportsreferringtodifferent

assessmentcarriedoutbythecommitteeaccordingto

theaffidavitwhichhasbeenfiledonbehalfofthe

CommissionerandSecretarytotheGovernmentof

Meghalaya,thetotalquantityofcoalstockwhichhas

nowbeenassessedindifferentreportsstandsat

32,56,715metricton.

47.Itisfurthersubmittedbylearnedcounselforthe

StateofMeghalayathataboveassessmentofcoalhas
49

beenalsoverifiedbytechnicalcommitteesappointed

bytheStateofMeghalaya.Certainreportsoftechnical

committeeshavealsobeenbroughtontherecordalong

withtheaffidavit.

48.ShriColinGonsalves,learnedAmicusCuriaehas

challengedtheassessmentmadebythecommittees

appointedbytheStateGovernmentaswellas

verificationbytechnicalcommitteereport.Itis

submittedbyShriGonsalvesthatreportoftechnical

committeewantstoundowhathasbeendoneinthe

proceedingsbeforethetribunalandthisCourt.

LearnedAmicusCuriaesubmitsthatfortransportation,

fiveextensionsweregrantedbyNGTandfourextensions

weregrantedbythisCourt.ShriGonsalvesreferredto

Katakeycommitteereportinsupportofhis

submissions.

49.ShriNidheshGupta,learnedseniorcounsel,has

alsorefutedtheclaimofthedifferentapplicantsas

wellasthestepstakenbytheStateofMeghalayain

assessingthecoalandverifyingthesamebytechnical
50

committee.ShriGuptasubmitsthatthecoalwhichis

nowclaimedtobeassessedisnothingbutillegally

extractedcoal.Itissubmittedthatinpursuanceof

severalorderspassedbyNGTandthisCourtsubstantial

transportationofcoalhasbeenpermitted,stillthe

enormousquantityofcoalisclaimedwhichisnothing

butanexcusetoobtainanorderoftransportationof

suchillegallyminedcoal.ItissubmittedthatState

ofMeghalayaishandinglovewithillegalminers.

ShriGuptasubmitsthatthecostofwinningcoalby

ratholeminingisnegligibleandafterpaymentof

royaltyofRs.675/-andRs.485/-towardsMeghalaya

EnvironmentProtectionandRestorationFundi.e.total

paymentofRs.1160/-,thecoalistransported.The

marketpriceofthecoalisapproximatelyRs.10,000/-

permetricton.Theclaimofdifferentapplicantswith

regardtounassessedcoalisfalse.Itissubmitted

thatallillegallyminedcoalshouldbevestedinthe

Stateandnopermissionoftransportasprayedbythe

differentapplicantsbegrantedbythisCourt.Learned

senioradvocatesubmitsthatallapplicationspraying

fordifferentdirectionsdeservetoberejected.
51

50.Learnedcounselforthepartiesinsupportof

theirrespectivesubmissionshaveplacedrelianceon

variousjudgmentsofthisCourtwhichshallbereferred

towhileconsideringthesubmissionsoftheparties.

51.Fromthesubmissionsofthepartiesasnotedabove

andthematerialsonrecordintheseappealsfollowing

pointsariseforconsideration.

52.POINTSFORCONSIDERATION

1.WhetherorderspassedbytheNationalGreen

Tribunalarewithoutjurisdictionbeingbeyondthe

purviewofSections14,Section15andSection16oftheNational

GreenTribunalAct,2010?

2.WhetherprovisionsofMinesandSectionMinerals

DevelopmentRegulationAct,1957areapplicable

inTribalareaswithintheStateofMeghalaya,

includedinSixthScheduleoftheConstitution?

3.Whetherforminingthemineralsfromprivately

owned/communityownedlandinhillsdistrictsof

Meghalaya,obtainingaminingleaseisastatutory
52

requirementundertheSectionMMDRAct,1957andthe

MineralConcessionRules,1960?

4.WhetherundertheSectionMMDRAct,1957andMineral

ConcessionRules,1960,itistheState

Government,whoistograntleaseforminingof

mineralsinprivatelyowned/communityownedland

oritistheowneroftheminerals,whoisto

grantleaseforcarryingoutminingoperations?

5.WhethertheStateofMeghalayahasanystatutory

controlovertheminingofcoalfromprivately

owned/communityownedlandinhillsdistrictsof

StateofMeghalaya?

6.Whetherthepowertoallotlandformining

purposesisvestedinAutonomousDistrict

Councils?

7.WhethertheorderofNationalGreenTribunaldated

17.04.2014directingforcompletebanonmining

isunsustainable?

8.Whetherthecompletebanonminingofcoalinthe

StateofMeghalayaasdirectedbyNGTdeservedto
53

bevacated/modifiedintheinterestofStateand

Tribals?

9.WhetherNGThadanyjurisdictiontoconstitute

committeestosubmitreports,toimplementthe

ordersofNGT,tomonitorstorage/transportation;

ofmineralsandtoprepareactionplanfor

restorationofenvironment?

10.WhethertheNGTcommittederrorindirectingfor

constitutionoffund,namely,Meghalaya

EnvironmentProtectionandRestorationFund?

11.WhetherNGTbyconstitutingCommitteeshas

delegatedessentialjudicialpowerstothe

Committeesandhasfurtherencroachedthe

constitutionalschemeofadministrationofTribal

areasunderSectionArticle244(2)andSectionArticle275(1)and

ScheduleVIoftheConstitution?

12.WhetherdirectiontodepositRs.100/-croresby

theStateofMeghalayabyorderdated04.01.2019

ofNGTimpugnedinC.A.No.2968of2019is

sustainable?

54

13.WhetherNGT’sorderdated31.03.2016thatafter

15.05.2016allremainingcoalshallvestinthe

StateofMeghalayaissustainable?

14.Whetherassessedandunassessedcoalwhichhas

alreadybeenextractedandlyingindifferent

DistrictsofMeghalayabepermittedtobe

transportedandwhatmechanismbeadoptedfor

disposalofsuchcoal?

53.Nowweproceedtoconsidertheabovepointsin

seriatim.

PointNo.1

54.TheStateofMeghalayasubmitsthatNGTwhile

imposingbanonminingandbyformingcommitteeand

creatinga“MeghalayaEnvironmentProtectionand

RestorationFund”hasgonebeyonditsjurisdictionas

conferredonitbyNGTAct,2010.TheTribunalhasno

inherentjurisdiction,itsjurisdictionflowfrom

Sections14,Section15andSection16oftheAct.

55

55.ItisrelevanttonoticefewprovisionsofNGT

Act,2010tocomprehendthejurisdictionvestedwith

theTribunal.SectionTheNationalGreenTribunalAct,2010

wasenactedtoprovidefortheeffectiveand

expeditiousdisposalofcasesrelatingto

environmentalprotectionandconservationofforests

andothernaturalresourcesincludingenforcementof

anylegalrightrelatingtoenvironmentandgiving

reliefandcompensationfordamagestopersonsand

propertyandformattersconnectedtherewithor

incidentalthereto.Section2isdefinitions.Section

2(c)definesenvironmentinthefollowingmanner:

“2(c)”environment”includeswater,airand
landandtheinter-relationship,whichexists
amongandbetweenwater,airandlandand
humanbeings,otherlivingcreatures,plants,
micro-organismandproperty;

56.Section2(m)definessubstantialquestionrelating

environmentwhichistothefollowingeffect:

“2(m)”substantialquestionrelatingto
environment”shallincludeaninstance
where,—(i)thereisadirectviolationofa
specificstatutoryenvironmentalobligation
byapersonbywhich,—(A)thecommunityat
largeotherthananindividualorgroupof
individualsisaffectedorlikelytobe
affectedbytheenvironmentalconsequences;
or(B)thegravityofdamagetothe
56

environmentorpropertyissubstantial;or
(C)thedamagetopublichealthisbroadly
measurable;(ii)theenvironmental
consequencesrelatetoaspecificactivity
orapointsourceofpollution;”

57.ChapterIIIoftheActdealswithjurisdiction,

powersandproceedingsoftheTribunal.Sections14

andSection15whicharerelevantinthepresentcaseareas

follows:

“14.Tribunaltosettledisputes.—(1)The
Tribunalshallhavethejurisdictionoverall
civilcaseswhereasubstantialquestion
relatingtoenvironment(including
enforcementofanylegalrightrelatingto
environment),isinvolvedandsuchquestion
arisesoutoftheimplementationofthe
enactmentsspecifiedinScheduleI.

1.Ins.byAct7of2017,Sections.182(w.e.f.26-
5-2017).

(2)TheTribunalshallhearthedisputes
arisingfromthequestionsreferredtoin
sub-section(1)andsettlesuchdisputesand
passorderthereon.

(3)Noapplicationforadjudicationof
disputeunderthissectionshallbe
entertainedbytheTribunalunlessitismade
withinaperiodofsixmonthsfromthedate
onwhichthecauseofactionforsuchdispute
firstarose:

ProvidedthattheTribunalmay,ifitis
satisfiedthattheapplicantwasprevented
bysufficientcausefromfilingthe
applicationwithinthesaidperiod,allowit
57

tobefiledwithinafurtherperiodnot
exceedingsixtydays.

15.Relief,compensationandrestitution.—

(1)TheTribunalmay,byanorder,provide,—

(a)reliefandcompensationtothevictims
ofpollutionandotherenvironmental
damagearisingundertheenactments
specifiedintheScheduleI(including
accidentoccurringwhilehandlingany
hazardoussubstance);

(b)forrestitutionofpropertydamaged;

(c)forrestitutionoftheenvironmentfor
suchareaorareas,astheTribunal
maythinkfit.

(2)Thereliefandcompensationand
restitutionofpropertyandenvironment
referredtoinclauses(a),(b)and(c)of
sub-section(1)shallbeinadditiontothe
reliefpaidorpayableundertheSectionPublic
LiabilityInsuranceAct,1991(6of1991).

(3)Noapplicationforgrantofany
compensationorrelieforrestitutionof
propertyorenvironmentunderthissection
shallbeentertainedbytheTribunalunless
itismadewithinaperiodoffiveyearsfrom
thedateonwhichthecauseforsuch
compensationorrelieffirstarose:

ProvidedthattheTribunalmay,ifitis
satisfiedthattheapplicantwasprevented
bysufficientcausefromfilingthe
applicationwithinthesaidperiod,allowit
tobefiledwithinafurtherperiodnot
exceedingsixtydays.

(4)TheTribunalmay,havingregardtothe
damagetopublichealth,propertyand
58

environment,dividethecompensationor
reliefpayableunderseparateheadsspecified
inScheduleIIsoastoprovidecompensation
orrelieftotheclaimantsandfor
restitutionofthedamagedpropertyor
environment,asitmaythinkfit.

(5)Everyclaimantofthecompensationor
reliefunderthisActshallintimatetothe
Tribunalabouttheapplicationfiledto,or,
asthecasemaybe,compensationorrelief
receivedfrom,anyothercourtorauthority.”

58.ThesubmissionwhichhasbeenpressedbytheState

isthatneitherSectionMMDRAct,1957norSectionMinesAct,1952is

prescribedinScheduleIoftheAct,hence,coalmining

isnotwithinthepurviewofScheduleIandnotwithin

thejurisdictionoftheTribunal.Thesubmission

furtheristhatforapplicabilityofSection14both

thecomponentofsub-section(1)ofSection14that

(i)asubstantialquestionrelatingtoenvironmentand

(ii)suchquestionarisesoutoftheimplementationof

theenactmentsspecifiedinScheduleIhastobe

satisfied.

59.ItisrelevanttonoticethatbeforetheNGTno

suchpleawastakenbytheStateofMeghalayaorany

ofthepartiesquestioningthejurisdictionofthe

NGT.However,theissuebeingajurisdictionalissue,
59

wehavepermittedthelearnedcounselfortheappellant

toraisetheissue.TheNGTtookcognizancewhen

application,O.A.No.73of2014on17.04.2014was

admittedandorderwasissued.Thejurisdictionofthe

TribunaltoentertainO.A.No.73of2014hastobefound

outfromthecasesetupandpleadingsinO.A.No.73of

2014forwhichweneedtoscrutinisetheapplication.

O.A.No.73of2014hasbeenbroughtonrecordas

Annexure-A3inC.A.No.5272of2016.Theapplication

wasfiledbyoneAllDimasaStudentsUnionDimaHasao

DistrictCommittee.Intheapplicationfollowingwere

therespondents:

1.TheStateofMeghalayathroughthe
PrincipalSecretary,ForestandEnvironment
Department,GovernmentofMeghalaya,
Shillong.2.TheChairperson,State
PollutionControlBoard,Meghalaya,
Shillong.3.TheStateofAssamthroughthe
PrincipalSecretary,ForestandEnvironment
DepartmentGovernmentofAssam,Dispur.4.The
Chairperson,StatePollutionControlBoard,
Assam,Dispur.5.TheCentralPollution
ControlBoard,ParveshBhawan,EastArjun
Nagar,Delhi–110032throughits
Chairperson.6.NorthEasterElectricPower
CorporationLtd.throughitsChairmanand
ManagingDirectorBrooklynCompound,Lower
NewColony,Shillong–793003.Meghalaya.

60

60.Paragraph3oftheapplicationstatesthecaseof

theapplicantandfactsinbrief.Paragraph3and(I)

to(VI)areasfollows:

“3.TheApplicantabovenamedbegto
presentthepresentApplicationtobring
tothenoticeofthisHon’bleTribunalabout
theadverseimpactofunscientific
opencastminingoperationsbeingstill
undertakenintheJaintiaHillsin
Meghalayaontheecologyandsocio-economy
oftheconcernedareaincludingDimaHasao
DistrictofAssam.Itisstatedthatthe
AcidMineDrainage(forshort(AMD’)
generatedfromtheaforesaidmining
operationshasresultedinmakingthe
wateroftheriverKopili(aninter-state
riverflowingthroughtheStateofMeghalaya
andAssam)anditstributarieshighly
acidicwhichinturnhasnotonlycaused
seriousfarreachingdamagetothe
environment,waterbodies,soil,
agriculture,economy,andindustryofthe
concernedareabutalsoresultedin
causingerosion/corrosionofthecritical
underwaterHydroPowerEquipmentsofthe
KopiliHydro-ElectricProject(forshort
`KHEP’)oftheNorth-EasternElectric
PowerCorporationLtd(forshort`NEEPC0′)
situatedinUmrongso,DimaHasao,
DistrictofAssaminasmuchasthe
saidacidicwaterisultimatelyledtothe
reservoirsofthesaidproject.

FACTSINBRIEF
I.ThattheApplicantistheSecretaryof
theDimaHasaoStudentsAssociationand
filingthepresentPetitionina
representativecapacitytoespousethe
causeofthepeopleofDimaHasao,
Assamwhoareconstantlyand
continuouslyfacingtheadverseaffect
oftheaforesaidillegalactivities
intheStateofMeghalaya.

II.ThattheKopiliRiverisaninter-

stateriverinNorth-EastIndiathat
flowsthroughtheStatesofMeghalaya
andAssamandisthelargestsouthbank
tributaryoftheriverBrahmaputrain
61

Assam,TheKopiliriveroriginatesfrom
theblackmountainsofLumBah-boBah-
KonginMeghalayaandflowsnorth-west
intotheBrahmaputraValleyinAssam.
ThesaidriverdemarcatestheJaintia
HillsinMeghalayaandDirriaHasaoin
Assam.Theriverflowsforatotal
lengthof290kmsandhasacatchment
areaof16,420Kms.

III.ThattheKopiliHydro-Electric
Project(KHEP)ofNEEPCO(aGovernment
ofIndiaundertaking)isoneofthe
pioneeringHydro-ElectricProjectinthe
NorthEasternRegionofIndia.TheKopili
Hydro-ElectricPlantisa275MW
storagetypehydroelectricplant
consistingoftwodamswhichhave
createdtworeservoirsnamelyKopili
reservoirisusedintheKhandong
powerhousethrougha2759metretunnel
togeneratepower.Thetailwaterfrom
thispowerhouseisledtotheUmrong
reservoirisusedinKopilipowerhouse
througha5473metretunneltogenerate
power.Although,thedam,powerhouseand
residentialcolonyof.kopiliHydro
ElectricPlaner(KHEP)arelocatedin
theDimaHasaoDistrict(formerlyknown
asNorthCacharHillsDistrict)of
Assam,thecatchmentandreservoirsare
spreadintwostatesnamelyMeghalaya
andAssam.Itisfurtherstatedthat
theKopiliRiveranditstributaries
feedwatertothereservoirsoftheproject.The
KharkorisamajortributaryofriverKopili
anddrainsavastareaofJaintiaHills
DistrictsofMeghalaya.TheJaintia
Hillsbeingwellknownforcoalmining
areasiscontributingacidicwaterin
theformofAcidMineDrainage(AMD)
totheriverKharkorthroughits
differenttributariessuchasUrnPai,
Myntriang,UrnRopang,Sarbang,Mostem
62

etc.asthesestreamsdrainthrough
theactiveandinactivecoalmining
areasofJaintiaHills.Theacidic
waterfinallyreachestoKhandongand
UmrongreservoirsofKHEP.Asaresult,
thewaterofthereservoirshasbecome
highlyacidic.Thewaterpollutionin
streamsofcatchmentareavariesfrom
brownishtoreddishorange.Thesame
pollutedwaterthroughvarious
tributariesofriversKharkorand
Kopiliisperpetuallyreachingtothe
reservoirsoftheKHEP.Asaresult,the
waterofreservoirshasbecomehighly
acidic.Inrecentyears,ithasbeen
foundthatacidityofreservoirwater
isamajorthreattoequipmentsand
machineryduetocorrosion/metal
decayanderosion.Componentssuchas
coolingwaterheaderpipe,Bends,
throttlingvalves,pressureequalizer
pipeofturbineetc.madeupof
differentmetalsandalloysare
gettingseverelyaffectedand
incurringhighmaintenancecost.

IV.Thatthesaidadverseimpactofthe
aforesaidminingoperationwhichhas
notonlyaffectedtheecologyand
socio-economyof
theareabutalsoseverelyaffected
thegenerationofhydro-electricityat
theKopiliHydro-ElectricPlanthasbeen
subjectmatterofvariousstudies.In
fact,adetailedprojectreportof
pilotprojectforremediationofAcid
MineDrainage(AMD)inthecatchment
ofKopiliRiverattheupstreamof
KopiliHydroElectricPlant(KHEP),
Umrongso,DimaHasao,Assamwasdone
byDr.O.P.Singh,Professor,
DepartmentofEnvironmentalStudies,
North-EasternHillsUniversity,
Shillong,Meghalaya.Similarly,a
63

detailedarticlebasedondetailed
investigationbyShriPankajSharmaand
otherswaspublishedundertheheading
“Acidminedischarge—Challengesmetin
ahydropowerproject”inthe
InternationalJournalof
EnvironmentalSciences,VolumeI,
No.6,2011.Boththeaforesaid
publicationsgivesanindepth
analysisoftheaforesaidproblemas
wellassuggestsremedialmeasuresto
improvethesituation.However,itis
statedthatnoproperandeffective
remedialmeasureshavebeentakenbythe
concernedauthorities/State
Respondentstoaborttheaforesaid
menaceandtheill-effectofthesameare
stillcontinuingandthesamearebeing
constantlyfacedbytheinnocentcitizens
/waterbodiesetcoftheareaincluding
thepeopleofDimaHasaodistrictof
Assam.Copiesofthedetailedproject
reportofpilotprojectforremediationof
AcidMineDrainage(AMD)inthecatchment
ofKopiliRiverattheupstreamof
KopiliHydroElectricPlant(KHEP),
Umrongso,DimaHasao,Assamandthe
articlepublishedundertheheading”Acid
minedischarge—Challengesmetinahydro
powerproject”intheInternationalJournal
ofEnvironmentalSciences,VolumeI,
No.6,2011areannexedherewithand
markedasANNEXURE-P/1P-2
respectively.Theill-effectofthe
aforesaidoperationshasalsobeenthe
subjectmatterofnewsitemsinvarious
newspapersincludingonepublishedby
theAssamTribuneonJune,20,2012under
theheading”Concernovercontamination
ofKopiliWater”andanotherone
publishedintheTelegraphon
20.06.2013undertheheading”Two
Kopilipowerunitsshutdown—Mining
inJaintiaHillsaffectsmachines”.

64

Copiesofthenewsitemspublishedin
theAssamTribunedated20.06.2012and
theTelegraphdated20.06.2013are
annexedherewithandmarkedasANNEXURE-
P/3P-4respectively.”

61.Inparagraph3(V)theappellanthasextracteda

reportofoneDr.O.P.Singh,Professor,North-Eastern

HillsUniversity,Shillong,Meghalaya.Certain

paragraphsofreportstatedthatAcidMine

Drainage(AMD)isthegreatestenvironmentalproblemof

coalindustryandmainsourceofwaterpollutionin

andaroundminingareas.ThereportmentionedthatAMD

degradesthewaterqualityoftheareaintermsof

loweringthepHofthesurroundingwaterresourcesand

increasingtheleveloftotalsuspendedsolids,total

dissolvedsolidsandsomeheavymetals.Followingis

thepartoftheparagraph4.1.4ofthereportwhichis

extractedinparagraph3(V):

“4.1.4ImpactofAMDonEnvironment,Socio-
economyandIndustry

ImpactonEnvironmentandWaterResources:

Acidminedrainageisthegreatest
environmentalproblemofcoalmining
industryandmainsourceofwater

pollutioninandaroundminingareas.The
influxofuntreatedAMDintostreams
severelydegradesbothwaterqualityand
65

aquatichabitatturningwaterunfitfor
desiredusesandoftenproducingan
environmentdevoidofmostaquaticlife.

AMDdegradesthewaterqualityofthearea
intermsofloweringthepHofthe
surroundingwaterresourcesandincreasingthelevel
oftotalsuspendedsolids,totaldissolved
solidsandsomeheavymetals.Acidityand
highconcentrationofSO42;ironandother
metalsprovetobetoxicandcorrosiveto
mostaquaticanimalsandplants.Precipitate
ofironhydroxideincreasestheloadof
suspendedsolidswhichimpairlight
penetrationandvisibilityresultinginto
lowproductivityanddisruptionof
normalfunctioningofthecontaminated
aquaticecosystem.AMDcanalsobetoxicto
vegetationwhendischargedtotheshallow
soilwaterzonesandwetlands(VanGreenet
al.,1999;SinghandAgrawal,2004;Gosh,
1991).

Aquaticcommunitiesofriversand
streamscompriseofphytoplanktoris,
periphyton,macrophytes,zooplanktons,
invertebratesandvertebratespecies.They
playimportantroleinnormalfunctioning
oftheaquaticecosystemandare
indicativeofgoodhealthofwaterbodies.
Generally,avarietyofspecieswith
representativesofalmostallinsect
orders,includingahighdiversityof
insectsbelongingtothetaxonomicordersof
Ephemeroptera(mayflies),Plecoptera
(stoneflies),andTrichoptera
(caddisflies)commonlyreferredtoasEPT
taxa.Anyphysical,chemicalor
biologicalchangeinwaterbodiesaffects
oneorallspeciesanddisturbsthenormal
functioningoftheaquaticecosystem.

Likemanyotherpollutants,AMID
contaminationcausesareductioninthe
diversityandtotalnumbers,orabundance,
66

oftheseaquaticcommunitiesincluding
benthicmacroinvertebrates,fishes,etc.As
aresult,thecommunitystructureisaltered
andwaterbodiesaffectedbyAMDpossessa
lowerpercentageofEPTtaxa(Campbellet
al.,2000).ModerateAMDcontamination
eliminatesthemoresensitivespecies
whereasseverelycontaminatedconditions
arecharacterizedbydominanceofcertain
taxonomicrepresentativesofpollution
tolerantorganisms.

Asaconsequenceofdepletionofaquatic
invertebrates,thefishesdonotgetadequate
supplyoffoodandsufferindirectlyfromAMD
contaminationAMDalsohasdirecteffecton
fishbycausingvariousphysiological
disturbances.However,theprimarycauseof
fishdeathinacidwatersislossofsodium
ionsfromtheblbod.Lessavailabilityof
oxygentothecellsandtissuesleadsto
anoxiaanddeathasacidwaterincreasesthe
permeabilityoffishgillstowater,
adverselyaffectingthegillfunction.
SevereanoxiaoccursbelowpH4.2.LowH
thatisnotdirectlylethalmayadversely
affectfishgrowthratesandreproduction.”

62.Further,paragraph4.2.3ofthereportdealtwith

coalmininginJaintiaHillsandparagraph4.2.4dealt

withimpactofcoalmininginJaintiaHillsand

paragraph4.2.5dealtwithdegradationofwater

qualityduetocoalmining.Paragraphs4.2.3,4.2.4,

4.2.5and4.2.6whichwereextractedinO.A.No.73of

2014areproducedasbelow:

67

“4.2.3CoalMininginJaintiaHills

Extractionofcoalhasbeentakingplacein
allthreeregions,however,’majorproduction
occursinJaintiaHills.Theminingactivity
inJaintiaHillsisasmallscaleventure
controlledbyindividualswhoownthe
land.Primitiveminingmethodcommonly
knownas’rat-hole’miningisin
practiceinMeghalaya.Inthismethodtheland
isfirstclearedbycuttingandremovingthe
groundvegetationandthendiggingpits
rangingfrom5to100m2intothegroundto
reachthecoalseam.Thereafter,tunnelsare
madeintotheseamsidewaystoextractthe
coalwhichisbroughtintothepitbyusing
aconicalbasketorawheelbarrow
manually.Coalseamsarereachedby
excavatingthesideedgeofthehillslopes
andthencoalisextractedthrougha
horizontaltunnel.Thecoalfromthetunnel
orpitistakenoutanddumpedonnearbyun-
minedarea,fromwhereitiscarriedtothe
largerdumpingplacesnearhighwaysforits
tradeandtransportation.Finally,thecoal
iscarriedbytruckstothelargerdumping
placesnearhighwaysforitstradeand
transportation.Entireroadsidesinand
aroundminingareasareusedforpilingof
coalwhichisamajorsourceofair,water
andsoilpollution.Offroadmovementof
trucksandothervehiclesinthearea
causesfurtherdamagetotheecologyofthe
area.

Everyyearnewareasarebroughtunder
miningandareaundercoalmininginJaintia
Hillsisincreasingday-by-dayasshownin
Figure4,5.”

“4.2.4ImpactofCoalMininginJaintia
HillsandBeyond
Miningoperation,undoubtedlyhas
broughtwealthandemploymentopportunity
68

inthearea,butsimultaneouslyhasledto
extensiveenvironmentaldegradationand
erosionoftraditionalvaluesinthe
society.Environmentalproblemsassociated
withmininghavebeenfeltseverelybecause
oftheregion’sfragileecosystemsand
richnessofbiologicalandcultural
diversity.Theindiscriminateand
unscientificminingandabsenceofpost-
miningtreatmentandmanagementofmined
areasaremakingthefragileecosystemsmore
vulnerabletoenvironmentaldegradationandleading
tolargescalelandcover/landusechanges.
Thecurrentmodusoperandiofsurface
miningintheareagenerateshugequantity
ofminespoiloroverburden(consolidated
andunconsolidatedmaterialsoverlyingthe
coalseam)intheformofgravels,rocks,
sand,soiletc.whicharedumpedoveralarge
areaadjacenttotheminepits.Thedumping
ofoverburdenandcoaldestroysthe
surroundingvegetationandleadstosevere
soilandwaterpollution.Largescale
denudationofforestcover,scarcityof
water,pollutionofair,waterandsoil,
anddegradationofagriculturallandsare
someoftheconspicuousenvironmental
implicationsofcoalmininginJaintiaHills.
Further,entirecoalminingareaofthe
JaintiaHillshasbecomefullofminepits
andcaves.Theseopen,unfilledpitsare
theplaceswheresurfacewaterpercolates
anddisappears.Asaresult,smaller
streamsandriversofthearea,which
servedaslifelinesforthepeople,are
eithercompletelydisappearingfromthe
faceoftheearthorbecomingseasonal
instead.Consequently,theareais
facingacuteshortageofcleandrinking
andirrigationwater.Besides,avastarea
hasbecomephysicallydisfigureddueto
haphazarddumpingofoverburdenandmined
coal,andcavinginofthegroundand
subsidenceofland.

69

ContinuousdischargeofAcidMineDrainage
(AMD)andtoxicchemicalsfromcoalmines,
storagesitesandexposedoverburdenhave
pollutedtheriversystemofthearea.Acidic
wateronreachingtolandandagricultural
fieldshasaffectedthetraditional
agricultureandagriculturalproductivity
ofthearea(DasGuptaetal,2002;Swerand
Singh,2004)

“4.2.5DegradationofWaterQualitydueto
CoalMining
Thewaterbodiesoftheareaarethegreatestvictims
ofthecoalmining.Thewaterbodiesarebadly
affectedbycontaminationofAcidMines
Drainage(AMD)originatingfromminesand
spoils,leachingofheavymetals,•organic
enrichmentandsiltingbycoalandsand
particles.Pollutionofthesaferis
evidencedbythecolourofthewaterwhich
inmostoftheriversandstreamsinthe
miningareavariesfrombrownishto
reddishorange.LowpH(between2-3),high
conductivity,highconcentrationof
sulphate,ironandtoxicheavymetals,low
dissolvedoxygen(DO)andhighBODare
someofthephysic-chemicaland
biologicalparameterswhich’characterize
thedegradationofwaterquality.

Analysisofphysic-chemicaland
biologicalparametersofwaterinthe
miningareashowsseveredegradationof
waterquality.

Thecolourofthewaterinminingarea
generallyvariesfrombrownishtoreddish
orange.Siltationofcoalparticles,’
sand,soiletc.andcontaminationofAMD
andformationofironhydroxidearesome
ofthemajorcausesofchangeinwater
colour.Formationofironhydroxides[Fe
(CH)31ismainlyresponsiblefororangeor
redcolourofwaterintheminingareas.
70

Ironhydroxideisayellowishinsoluble
materialcommonlyformedinwaterbodies
ofthecoalfields.Itisthismaterialthat
stainsstreamsandresponsibleforredto
orangecolorofwater.Whenelevatedlevels
ofironareintroducedintonaturalwaters,
theironisoxidizedandhydrolyzed,
therebyformingprecipitateofiron
hydroxides.

Thewaterincoalminingareashasbeen
foundhighlyacidic.ThepHofstreamsand
riversvariesbetween2.31to4.01.Solids
suchasfineparticlesofcoal,sand,mud
andothermineralparticleswerefound
depositedatthebottomofthewater
bodies.Besides,waterwasalsofound
turbidandcolouredduetosuspended
precipitatesofironhydroxides.Dissolved
oxygenwasfoundtobelowinwater
bodiesofcoatminingareas,thelowestbeing
4.24mg/LinriverRawakaandstreamMetyngka
ofRymbai.

Thewatersoftheminingareashavebeen
foundcontainingsulphateconcentration
between78to168mg/L.Electrical
conductivityisarapidmeasureofthe
totaldissolvedsolidspresentinionic
form.Waterincoalminingareaswasfound
havinghighconductivity.Depositionof
siltatthebottomoftheriversandstreams
isanotherimportantproblemincoalmining
areas.Waterbodiesoftheminingarea
appeartocontainvarioustypesof
organicmatterwhichisevidentbylow
DissolvedOxygen(D00andhigh
BiochemicalOxygenDemand(BOD).

Asaresult,therivers,streamsand
springswhichhadsupportedextremely
richbiodiversityandtraditional
agriculture,andweresourceofpotable
andirrigationwaterintheareahave
71

becomeunfitforhumanconsumption.

Further,thereisanoveralldeclinein
agriculturalproductivitydueto
contaminationofsoilwithcoalparticles,
seepageofAcidminesdrainageandscarcity
ofwater.Thewaterofmanyriversand
streamshavealmostbecomedevoidofaquatic
life”.

4.2.6CausesofDeteriorationofWater
Quality
Majorcausesofdeteriorationofwater
quality,asevidencedbyaboveobservationsare
AMDdischarge,siltationandorganic
enrichment.Asinanyothercoalmining
area,AcidMineDrainage(AMD)isthemain
sourceofwaterpollutioninthecoal
miningareasofJaintiaHills.Asdiscussed
inpreviouschapter,Ampisformedbya
seriesofcomplexgeochemicalandmicrobial
reactionsthatoccurwhenwatercomesin
contactwithpyrite(Ironsulfide)foundin
coalandexposedrocksofoverburden.Iron
sulfideinpresenceofoxygen,waterand
bacteriaformssulphuricacid,isreferredtoas
AMD.Intheprocess,ironhydroxide,ayellowish
orangeprecipitateisalsoformed.The
prercipitateofironhydroxidetogetherwith
othercontaminantsausesturbidityand
changesincolourofthewaterwhichreduces
thepenetrationoflightandaffectsthe
aquaticlife.ExtremelylowpHconditions
inthewateraccelerateweatheringand
dissolutionofsilicateandotherrock
minerals,therebycausingthereleaseof
otherelementssuchasaluminium,
manganese,copper,cadmiumetc.intothe
water.Hence,watercontaminatedwithAMD
isoftencolouredandturbidwith
suspendedsolids,highlyacidic(lowpH),
andcontainshighconcentrationof
dissolvedmetalsandotherelements.Most
ofthestreamsandriversofJaintiaHills
incoalminingareasareseverely
72

contaminatedwithAMDandthusbecomes
waterhasbecomehighlyacidic.ThepHand
otherparametersofsomeAMDaffected
waterbodiesaresummarizedinTable4.1.
Table4.1:Summaryofwaterquality
parametersinsomeCoalmining
rivers/reservoir.

SI.Rivers/ColourpHSulphaE
No.StreamsofteConduc
LocationWatercontentivity
ts(pS/Cm
(mg/L))
1.MyntriangLight2.83656
2.UrnPaiyellow
Brownish3.2186160
3.Rawaka,Reddis2.31166.5135
Rymbaih
4.Kenai-brown
Reddis2.66144.074
um,h
5.Rymbai
Metyngka,brown
Reddish2.42168.027
Rymbaibrown
6.Urn-Brownis3.52118.767
Mynkseh,h
Ladrymbaiorange
7.Thwai-Brownish4.0182.8718
Kungor,
Bapun
8.Umkyrpon,Light3.67161.337
KhliehriOrange
at
9.Waikhyrwi,
SutngaBrownis3.9678.69-
h
10.UmRoong2.8896128
11.MostemBrownish2.9616119
12.SarbangTurbid3.3515032
13.UmLuremYellowis5.0193
14.Khongdongh
Clear4.64334
Reservoir

Source:Presentstudy;GSI,2006-7;

Biahwar,2010
73

Theresultsshowthatmostoftheriversin
thecoalminingareasofJaintiaHillsare
severelyaffectedAMDasevidentfromthe
lowerpHvalues,highersulphatecontentand
ECinwatersamples”.

63.Thus,therewereclearallegationsinthe

applicationthatinspiteofvariousremedialmeasures

setoutinthereportnoproperandeffectiveremedial

measureshavebeentakenbytheconcernedauthorities

oftheStateofMeghalaya.Paragraph3(VI)isas

follows:

“3(VI).Thatthevariousremedialmeasures
aresetoutindetailinparagraphs4.4,
4.5,5,5.1and5.2andotherrelevant
paragraphsofthesaidreport.However,
tothebestofknowledgeoftheApplicant,
noproperandeffectiveremedial
measureshavebeenundertakenbythe
concernedauthoritiestilldateandthe
innocentcitizens/waterbodiesetc.of
theconcernedareasincludingthatofDima
HasaoDistrictinAssamcontinuetobe
subjectedtotheill-effectoftheaforesaid
illegalminingoperationintheStateof
Meghalaya.Thatapart,continuousand
irreparabledamageontheenvironment,
water,soil,agricultureetc.inthe
concernedareasincludingDimaHasao
districtofAssamarealsocontinuingasaresult
ofthesaidillegalminingoperationsin
JaintiaHillsintheStateofMeghalaya.”
74

64.GroundAoftheapplicationisalsorelevantto

bereproducedwhichistothefollowingeffect:

“GROUNDS
A.thattheaforementionedillegalmining
operationsintheJaintiaHillsinthe
StateofMeghalayahavenotonlycaused
seriousandirreparabledamagetothe
ecology,waterbodiesandthesocio-
economyoftheconcernedareasincluding
ofDimaHasaodistrictofAssambuthas
alsoresultedinserious
erosion/corrosionoftheunderwaterplants
andmachineriesandequipmentsofthe
KopiliHydroPowerProjectoftheNorth
EasternElectricPowerCorporationof
India(aGovernmentofIndia
undertaking),Theill-effectofthesaid
miningoperationhasbeenhighlightedin
detailintheaforementioneddetailed
projectreportbyDr.O.P.Singh,Professor,
North-EasternHillsUniversityaswellas
thesaidarticlepublishedinthe
InternationalJournalofEnvironmental
Sciences.Thoughremedialmeasureswere
suggestedinboththeaforesaidstudies,
tothebestoftheknowledgeofthe
Applicant,noproperandeffective
remedialmeasureshavebeenundertakenby
theRespondentshereinandtheill-effectof
thesaidactivitiesarestillcontinuingto
thedetrimentoftheecology,waterbodied
andsocio-economyoftheconcernedareas
includingDimaHasaodistrictofAssam.It
ismostrespectfullysubmittedthatthe
totalinactiononthepartofthe
Respondentshereininspiteofdetailed
studyonthesubjectwithremedial
suggestionsaretotallyinexcusableand
showthetotalcallousattitudeofthe
StateRespondentsThemenaceofillegal
opencastminingoperationsintheJaintia
HillsinMeghalayaisstillcontinuingto
75

thedetrimentoftheecologyandsocio-
economicoftheconcernedareasincluding
DimeHasaodistrictofAssamandassuch,
warrants,inthemostrespectful
submissionsoftheApplicant,immediate
interventionbythisHon’bleTribunal.
Theaforesaidinactionhasresultedin
violationofthevariousenactments
mentionedinScheduleIoftheNational
GreenTribunalAct2010includingthe
Water(PreventionandSectionControlof
Pollution)Act,1974,theAir
(PreventionandSectionControlofPollution)
Act,1981andtheSectionEnvironment(Protection)
Act1986apartfrominfringingthe
fundamentalrightsoftheApplicantunder
SectionArticle14andSection21oftheConstitutionof
India.”

65.ThepleadingsinO.A.No.73of2014asextracted

aboveclearlyandcategoricallyallegedenvironmental

degradationconsequenttoillegalcoalmining.Itwas

furtherstatedthatinactionofrespondentauthorities

hasresultedinviolationofvariousenactments

mentionedinScheduleIoftheNGTAct,2010including

theWater(PreventionandSectionControlPollution)Act,

1974,theAir(PreventionandSectionControlofPollution)

Act,1981andtheSectionEnvironment(Protection)Act,1986.

TheapplicationO.A.No.73of2014thushasclearly

madeoutallegationswhichweresufficientforthe

Tribunaltoexerciseitsjurisdictionasconferredby
76

Section14.Boththecomponentasappearinginsub-

section1ofSection14thatis(i)substantial

questionrelatingtoenvironmentand(ii)such

questionarisesoutoftheimplementationofthe

enactmentsspecifiedinScheduleI,wereinvolved.

66.TheNGTafteradvertingtotheapplication

O.A.No.73of2014on17.04,2014hasundertaken

differentproceedingsandaskedforvariousreports

fromdifferentcommitteesincludingStatePollution

ControlBoard.Byorderdated31.08.2018,theNGThad

appointedacommitteeheadedbyJusticeB.P.Katakey,

formerJudgeoftheGauhatiHighCourtwhichconsisted

ofProf.AshokK.Singh,RajivGandhiChairProfessor,

DepartmentofEnvironmentalScienceEngineering

representativefromIndianSchoolofMines,Dhanbad

IIT(ISM),Dhanbad(826004),Dr.ShantanuKumarDutta,

Scientist‘D’representativeofCentralPollution

ControlBoard.Thesaidcommitteesubmittedinterim

reporton31.12.2018andonthesubject“Whethercoal

miningactivitiesaswellasdumpingofcoalresults

inadverseenvironmentaleffect,ifso,thenatureand
77

extentthereof?”hasbeendealtwithinIssueNo.(D)

inthefollowingmanner:

“IssueNo.(D)Whethercoalminingactivities
aswellasdumpingofcoalresultsinadverse
environmentaleffect,ifso,thenatureand
extentthereof?

(i)TheMeghalayaStatePollutionControl
BoardinthemonthofSeptember,1997
publishedareportentitled“ENVIRONMENTAL
IMPACTOFCOALMININGINJAINTIAHILLS
DISTRICT”.ThethenChairmanofthesaid
Board,inhisforeword,hasadmitted
unplannedandunscientificcoalmining
activitiesintheStateformorethanhundred
years,whichachieveddangerousdimensions
sincelasttwodecadesandarecreating
ecologicaldisturbancesandnegative
environmentalimpacts,totheextentthatthe
veryexistenceofbiologicallifeis
threatenedinthecoalminingareasofthe
State.Ithasalsobeenadmittedthatno
systematiceffortstostudysuchimpactshave
sofarbeenmadebyanyinstitution.Thethen
MemberSecretaryoftheBoard,inthe
preface,hasprojectedtheadverseimpacts
ontheenvironmentbecauseofthecoalmining
activities.ThepHlevelofinwateralmost
alltheriversandstreamswasfoundtobe
belowtherequiredlevel.Insomeriversand
streams,thepHlevelwasfoundtobeaslow
as2.4.TheMeghalayaStatePollutionControl
Board,inthesaidreport,hasobservedthat
therandomdischargeofAMDandacidicrun
offsfrom-40-thecoalstorageareashave
alsomadetherivers,streamsandevenground
watershighlyacidic.Theambientairquality
ofthecoalminingandcoalstorageareaswas
alsofoundtobedegradedtocertainextent.

TheBoard,therefore,observedthat–“The
uncontrolledandunscientificcoalmining
operationsinJaintiaHillsDistricthave
78

alreadycreatedmassiveecological
disturbancesandenvironmentaldegradation
becausepresentlyneitheranypollution
controlmeasuresareadoptedbytheminers
noranysincereeffortsaremadefor
reclamationofthemineland”.Inthesaid
report,thefollowingrecommendationswere
madetominimizetheoveralladverse
environmentalimpactsofthemining
activities:-

(a)Togeneratesocialawarenessamong
thepublicingeneralandtheminersin
particularabouttheadverse
environmentalimpactsandthehealth
hazardsassociatedwithsuchunscientific
andunplannedcoalminingactivities.

(b)Preparationoftheinventoryofthe
mineowners,areasunderminingandrate
oflandusechangetogetthefirsthand
knowledgeaboutthequantumofthe
effortsrequiredforbettermanagementof
theseactivities.

(c)Toenforcesuitablelegislationson
thelinesoftheNationalMineralPolicy
immediatelyforexploitationofcoalin
mostsustainablemanner.

(d)Toengageexpertinstitutionfor
findingoutthemostsuitedtechnologies
forthecoalexploitationwith
appropriatepollutioncontrolmeasuresin
ordertoensurethattheenvironmentasa
wholeisnotsubjectedtofurther
degradation.

(e)Toengagetheexpertinstitutionfor
findingoutthesuitablewaysfor
rehabilitationoftheminedlandinphase
mannersothatthescarcelandresources
canbebroughtbacktoproductiveuses.
79

(f)Tolookforthealternativetransport
facilitiestocontrolvehicular
pollution.

(g)Toidentifythesuitablelocationfor
thestorageofcoalforsalewithadequate
facilitiestotreatdumprunoffs.

(h)Tostudytheaspectofthepresence
oftraceelementsinthesurfaceand
groundwaterbecausethelowpHvalues
increasethedissolutionpowerofwater.
Largenumbersoftraceelementsare
alwaysassociatedwiththecoalwhich
getsdissolvedinlowpHwaters.These
traceelementsareserioushealthhazards
eveninverylowconcentrations.

(i)Tointroducelucrativeschemesfor
theaforestationinthemostaffected
areas.

(j)TodeveloptheStateMineralPolicy
withtheinteractionofGovernment
Agencies,SocialInstitutions,Local
EldersandtheMiners,keepinginview
thespecificlandownershipsystemofthe
State.Nothingoftheabove
recommendationshavebeenimplementedso
far.

(ii)Itis,therefore,evidentthatapart
fromthewater,airpollution,thereis
degradationofsurfacelandbecauseofthe
coalminingactivitiesintheStateof
Meghalaya.Despitepublicationofthesaid
reportbytheMeghalayaStatePollution
ControlBoardasbackasintheyear1997,
nostepsappearedtohavebeentakenbyany
authoritytochecktheadverseenvironmental
affectandalsotoremedythesame.”
80

67.Thepresentisnotacaseofmereallegationof

applicantofenvironmentaldegradationbyillegaland

unregulatedcoalminingrathertherewerematerialson

therecordincludingthereportoftheexperts,the

MeghalayaStatePollutionControlBoardpublishedin

themonthofSeptember,1992,thereportofKatakey

committeeappointedbytheTribunalwhere

environmentaldegradationofwater,airandsurfaceof

thelandwasproved.

68.Hence,therewassufficientallegationregarding

substantialquestionsrelatingtoenvironmentand

violationofenactmentsinScheduleI.Wefailtosee

anysubstanceinthesubmissionofthelearnedcounsel

fortheappellantthatNGThasnojurisdictionto

entertainthecaseandpassorders.Duringsubmission,

learnedcounselfortheappellanthasnotevenreferred

toapplicationwhichwasfiledbytheapplicantin

O.A.No.73/2014.TherewerereportsoftheMeghalaya

StatePollutionControlBoardbeforetheState

Governmentpointingoutenvironmentaldegradationand

theTribunalhavingtakenuptheissue,thesubmission
81

onbehalfoftheStatethattheTribunalhasno

jurisdictionisnotexpectedfromtheStateGovernment

whoisunderconstitutionalobligationtoensureclean

environmenttoallitscitizens.Incasespertaining

toenvironmentalmattertheStatehastoactas

facilitatorandnotasobstructionist.SectionArticle48Aof

theConstitutionprovides:

“48A.Protectionandimprovementof
environmentandsafeguardingofforestsand
wildlifeTheStateshallendeavourto
protectandimprovetheenvironmentandto
safeguardtheforestsandwildlifeofthe
country.”

69.Learnedcounselfortheappellanthasplaced

relianceonthejudgmentofthisCourtinTechiTagi

TaraversusRajendraSinghBhandariandothers,

2018(11)SCC734.ThisCourthadoccasiontoconsider

Section14,Section15andSection2(m)oftheNationalGreenTribunal

Act,2010,whichinvolvesthequestionofjurisdiction

ofNGT.ThenatureoforderpassedbyNGTwhichwas

challengedbeforethiscourthasbeennoticedinpara

1ofthejudgment,whichistothefollowingeffect:-

“1.Thisbatchofappealsisdirectedagainst
thejudgmentandorderdated24-8-2016passed
bytheNationalGreenTribunal,Principal
Bench,NewDelhi(forshort“theNGT”)in
82

SectionRajendraSinghBhandariv.Stateof
Uttarakhand1.Onareadingofthejudgment
andorderpassedbytheNGT,itisquiteclear
thattheTribunalwasperturbedandanguished
thatsomepersonsappointedtotheState
PollutionControlBoards(forshort“SPCBs”)
didnothave,accordingtotheNGT,the
necessaryexpertiseorqualificationstobe
membersorChairpersonsofsuchhigh-powered
andspecialisedstatutorybodiesand
thereforedidnotdeservetheirappointment
ornomination.Whilewefullycommiserate
withtheNGTandsharethepainandanguish,
weareoftheviewthattheTribunalhas,at
law,exceededitsjurisdictionindirecting
theStateGovernmentstoreconsiderthe
appointmentsandinlayingdownguidelines
forappointmenttotheSPCBs,howeverwell-
meaningtheymightbe.Therefore,weset
asidethedecisionoftheNGT,butnotethat
alargenumberofdisconcertingfactshave
beenbroughtoutinthejudgmentwhichneed
seriousconsiderationbythoseinauthority,
particularlytheStateGovernmentsthatmake
appointmentsornominationstotheSPCBs.
Suchappointmentsshouldnotbemadecasually
orwithoutdueapplicationofmind
consideringtheduties,functionsand
responsibilitiesoftheSPCBs.”

70.Intheabovebackground,thisCourtheldthatthe

failureoftheStateGovernmenttoappoint

professionalsandexperiencepersonstothekey

positionsintheStatePollutionControlBoardcannot

beclassifiedasaprimarydisputeoverwhichtheNGT
83

couldhavejurisdiction.Followingwaslaiddownin

paragraph21:-

“21.Asfarasweareconcerned,inthe
contextoftheAct,adisputewouldbethe
assertionofarightoraninterestoraclaim
metbycontraryclaimsontheotherside.In
otherwords,thedisputemustbeoneof
substanceandnotofformanditappearsto
usthattheappointmentsthatweare
concernedwitharenot“disputes”assuchor
evendisputesforthepurposesoftheAct—
theycouldbedisputesforaconstitutional
courttoresolvethroughawritofquo
warranto,butcertainlynotfortheNGTto
ventureinto.ThefailureoftheState
Governmenttoappointprofessionaland
experiencedpersonstokeypositionsinthe
SPCBsorthefailuretoappointanyperson
atallmightincidentallyresultinan
ineffectiveimplementationoftheSectionWaterAct
andtheSectionAirAct,butthiscannotbe
classifiedasaprimarydisputeoverwhich
theNGTwouldhavejurisdiction.Sucha
failuremightbeofastatutoryobligation
overwhich,inthepresentcontextandnot
universally,onlyaconstitutionalcourt
wouldhavejurisdictionandnotastatutory
bodyliketheNGT.Whileweappreciatethe
anxietyoftheNGTtopreserveandprotect
theenvironmentasapartofitsstatutory
functions,wecannotextendtheseconcepts
totheextentofenablingtheNGTtoconsider
whoshouldbeappointedasaChairpersonor
amemberofanySPCBorwhoshouldnotbeso
appointed.”

71.Theissueinvolvedintheabovecasewasentirely

differentwhichdidnotdirectlypertainto

environmentaldegradation.WhetherNGThas
84

jurisdictiontoentertainaparticularcauseisa

questionwhichdependsonthefactsofeachcase.To

findoutastowhetherNGThasjurisdictionto

entertainacase,thecasesetupbeforetheTribunal

hastobelookedintotoanswerthequestion.The

judgmentofTechiTagiTara(supra)wasonitsown

factsanddoesnothelptheappellantinthepresent

case.

72.Inviewoftheforegoingdiscussion,werejectthe

submissionofthelearnedcounselfortheStatethat

theTribunalexceededitsjurisdictionunderSections

14andSection15inentertainingtheapplicationO.A.No.73of

2014.Wealsorecordourdis-approvaltothestand

takenbytheStateinthisregard.

PointNo.2

73.Beforeweproceedtoconsidertheabovepoints,

firstofall,weneedtonoticethenatureofland

tenureintheHillsDistrictsofStateofMeghalaya.

Learnedcounselforthepartiesarenotatvarianceon

thequestionofnatureoflandtenureintheHills

DistrictsofStateofMeghalaya.BytheNorth-Eastern
85

SectionAreaReorganisationAct,1971theStateofMeghalaya

wasformedasindependentfull-fledgedState.After

theenforcementoftheConstitutionthearea,now

comprisedintheStateofMeghalaya,wasincludedin

theStateofAssam,theAdministrationandcontrolof

whichareawasasperSectionArticle244oftheConstitution

ofIndiareadwithSixthScheduleoftheConstitution.

InsofarasthelandtenureintheHillsDistrictsof

Meghalaya,thereisnosubstantialchangeafterthe

adventoftheConstitution.Therewasnopaymentsystem

oflandrevenuebeforetheadventoftheConstitution

intheHillsDistrictsofMeghalaya.Learnedcounsel

forthepartieshavereferredtovariousmaterials

pertainingtothelandtenuresystemprevalentinthe

HillsDistrictsofStateofMeghalaya.Thelandsin

theKhasiHillsDistrictofMeghalayacomeundertwo

divisionsRiRaidandRiKynti.Riraidlandsare

communitylandswhicharesetapartforthebenefit

anduseofentirecommunity.Rikyntilandsare

privatelyownedlandswhichwerealsoownedby

communityaswellasbyindividuals.Theownerofthe

rekyntilandisanabsoluteproprietor.Thetenure
86

systeminJaintiaHillsclassifiedintotwotypesof

lands,namely,Hali/irrigatedlandandHighland.

HalilandsarefurthercategorisedinRajland,service

land,villagepujalandandprivateland.Proprietary

rightdoesnotvestintheStateinrespecttomajority

oflandswhichareeitherprivatelyownedorownedby

theTribalcommunity.Nosystemofpaymentofland

revenueisprevalentintheHillsDistrictofMeghalaya

exceptlandswhichbelongtoState.Forthepurposes

ofpresentcasewherethesubmissionoftheappellant

isthatlandinwhichminingoperationsofcoalis

beingdonearelandsbelongingtoTribalswhoare

ownersofthelandaswellasofthesub-soil,we

proceedwiththeassumptionthatTribalistheowner

oftheland.Itisfurtherthecaseoftheappellant

thatinHillsDistrictsofStateofMeghalayainland

whichisprivatelyownedbytheTribalorcommunity

owned,theTribalsorthecommunityortheclanare

ownersofbothsurfacerightandsub-soil.Itisthe

caseoftheappellantthattheStatedoesnothaveany

rightinsub-soilorminerals.Thejudgmentofthisin

SectionThressiammaJacobandothersvs.Geologist,Department
87

ofMiningandGeologyandothers,2013(9)SCC725,is

reliedon.ThisCourtintheabovecasehadoccasion

toconsiderthequestionofownershipofsub-

soil/mineralrightsinreferencetogenmomlandsin

MalabarareaoftheStateofMadras.Holderofthe

genmomrightsalsoclaimednotonlyasproprietorof

thesoilbuttheownerofthemineralsinthesoil.

ThisCourtlaiddownfollowinginparagraph58:

“58.Fortheabovementionedreasons,weare
oftheopinionthatthereisnothinginthe
lawwhichdeclaresthatallmineral
wealth/subsoilrightsvestintheState,on
theotherhand,theownershipof
subsoil/mineralwealthshouldnormally
followtheownershipoftheland,unlessthe
ownerofthelandisdeprivedofthesameby
somevalidprocess.Intheinstantappeals,
nosuchdeprivationisbroughttoournotice
andthereforeweholdthattheappellantsare
theproprietorsofthemineralsobtainingin
theirlands.Wemakeitclearthatwearenot
makinganydeclarationregardingtheir
liabilitytopayroyaltytotheStateasthat
issuestandsreferredtoalargerBench.”

74.AConstitutionBenchofthisCourtinSectionRajaAnand

BrahmaShahvs.TheStateofUttarPradeshandothers,

AIR1967SC1081,hadlaiddownthatprimafacieowner

ofasurfaceofthelandisentitledtoeverything

beneaththelandunlessthereisanexpressorimplied
88

reservationinthegrant.Inparagraph13following

hasbeenlaiddown:

“13.Inouropinion,areadingofthetwo
sanadssupportsthecaseoftheappellant
thatthereisnoreservationofmineral
rightsinfavouroftheGovernment.The
expressionusedinthesanadof1803A.D.is
“YououghttoconsiderhimtheRajaof
immovablejagirandofmahalandeverything
appertainingtheretobelongstohim.”In
effect,thegranttotheRajainthetwo
sanadsisagrantofthelandscomprisedin
themahalofAgoriandeverything
appertainingtheretoandasamatterof
constructionthegrantmustbetakentobe
notonlyofthelandbutalsoofeverything
beneathorwithintheland.Primafaciethe
ownerofasurfaceofthelandisentitled
exjuretoeverythingbeneaththelandand
intheabsenceofanyreservationinthe
grantmineralsnecessarilypasswiththe
rightstothesurface(Halsbury’sLawsof
England,3rdEdn.,Vol.26,p.325).Inother
words,atransferoftherighttothesurface
conveysrighttothemineralsunderneath
unlessthereisanexpressorimplied
reservationinthegrant.Acontract
thereforetosellorgrantaleaseofland
willgenerallyincludemines,quarriesand
mineralsbeneathorwithinit(Mitchellv.
Mosley).Itismanifestthatwhenthesanad
wasexecutedinfavouroftheRajathe
Governmentmadeoverthelandwithallits
capabilitiestotheRajaandmerelyimposed
onhimafixedsumofrevenueinlieuofall
therightstheGovernmenthadasaproprietor
ofthesoil.Whenneitherofthepartiesknew
undiscoveredmineralsunderneaththelandand
theideaofreservationneverenteredtheir
mindsitcannotbeheldthattherewasany
impliedreservationinthegrant.Norcan
89

afterwardsadistinctionbedrawnbetweenthe
variousrightsthatmayexistonthelandfor
thepurposeofqualifyingtheoriginalgrant
andimportingintoitwhatneitherparty
couldhaveimagined.Itwasarguedonbehalf
oftherespondentsthattheassessmentwas
madeontheagriculturalincome,butthis
circumstancecannotderogatefromtherights
conveyedtotheRajainthetwosanads
becausenorestrictionwasplacedontheuse
ofthelandandtheusebytheRajawasnot
limitedtoagriculture.”

75.Thus,lookingtothenatureofthelandtenureas

applicableintheHillsDistrictsofStateof

Meghalaya,themostofthelandsareeitherprivately

orcommunityownedinwhichStatedoesnotclaimany

right.Thus,privateownersofthelandaswellas

communityownershaveboththesurfacerightaswell

assub-soilright.Weare,thus,oftheopinionthat

Tribalsownedthelandandalsoownedtheminerals,

whichisaninescapableconclusion.We,thus,proceed

toexaminetheissuesonthepremisethatinprivately

ownedlandorcommunitylandmineralsalsovestinthe

owner.Wefirstneedtoconsiderastowhetherthe

provisionsofMMRDAct,1957areapplicableinthe

TribalareaofHillsDistrictofStateofMeghalaya.
90

76.PartXoftheConstitutionseparatelydealswith

ScheduledandTribalareas.HillsDistrictsofState

ofMeghalayaweretreatedtobeTribalareaandwere

tobegovernedbySectionArticle244sub-clause(2)readwith

ScheduleVI.ProvisionsofSectionArticle244afterformation

ofStateofMeghalayaisasfollows:

“SectionArticle244.AdministrationofScheduled
AreasandTribalAreas.-(1)Theprovisions
oftheFifthScheduleshallapplytothe
administrationandcontroloftheScheduled
AreasandScheduledTribesinanyStateother
thantheStatesofAssam,Meghalaya,Tripura
andMizoram.

(2)TheprovisionsoftheSixthSchedule
shallapplytotheadministrationofthe
tribalareasintheStateofAssam,
Meghalaya,TripuraandMizoram.”

77.SixthScheduleoftheConstitutioncontains

‘ProvisionsastotheAdministrationofTribalAreas

intheStatesofAssam,Meghalaya,Tripuraand

Mizoram’.Paragraph20ofSixthSchedulerefersto

TribalareasandPartIIofwhichconsistsofKhasi

HillsDistrict,JaintiaHillsDistrictandGaroHills

DistrictwhichhavebeenreferredasAutonomous

Districts.SixthSchedulePara1(1)isasfollows:

“1.Autonomousdistrictsandautonomous
regions.-(1)Subjecttotheprovisionsofthis
paragraph,thetribalareasineachitemof
91

PartsI,IIandIIAandinPartIIIofthe
tableappendedtoparagraph20ofthis
Scheduleshallbeanautonomousdistrict.

78.Para2ofSixthScheduleprovidesforConstitution

ofDistrictCouncilsandRegionalCouncils.Para3

providesforpowersoftheDistrictCouncilsand

RegionalCouncilstomakelawswhichistothe

followingeffect:

“3.PowersoftheDistrictCouncilsand
RegionalCouncilstomakelaws.—(1)The
RegionalCouncilforanautonomousregionin
respectofallareaswithinsuchregionand
theDistrictCouncilforanautonomous
districtinrespectofallareaswithinthe
districtexceptthosewhichareunderthe
authorityofRegionalCouncils,ifany,
withinthedistrictshallhavepowertomake
lawswithrespectto—

(a)theallotment,occupationoruse,or
thesettingapart,ofland,otherthan
anylandwhichisareservedforest
forthepurposesofagricultureor
grazingorforresidentialorother
non-agriculturalpurposesorforany
otherpurposelikelytopromotethe
interestsoftheinhabitantsofany
villageortown:

Providedthatnothinginsuchlaws
shallpreventthecompulsory
acquisitionofanyland,whether
occupiedorunoccupied,forpublic
purposes1[bytheGovernmentofthe
Stateconcerned]inaccordancewith
thelawforthetimebeinginforce
authorisingsuchacquisition;

92

(b)themanagementofanyforestnotbeing
areservedforest;

(c)theuseofanycanalorwater-course
forthepurposeofagriculture;

(d)theregulationofthepracticeofjhum
orotherformsofshifting
cultivation;

(e)theestablishmentofvillageortown
committeesorcouncilsandtheir
powers;

(f)anyothermatterrelatingtovillage
ortownadministration,including
villageortownpoliceandpublic
healthandsanitation;

(g)theappointmentorsuccessionof
ChiefsorHeadmen;

(h)theinheritanceofproperty;

(i)marriageanddivorce;

(j)socialcustoms.

(2)Inthisparagraph,a“reservedforest”
meansanyareawhichisareservedforest
undertheAssamForestRegulation,1891,or
underanyotherlawforthetimebeingin
forceintheareainquestion.(3)Alllaws
madeunderthisparagraphshallbesubmitted
forthwithtotheGovernorand,untilassented
tobyhim,shallhavenoeffect.”

79.Para9oftheSixthSchedulewhichisrelevantfor

thepresentcaseisasfollows:

“9.Licencesorleasesforthepurposeof
prospectingfor,orextractionof,minerals.—
(1)Suchshareoftheroyaltiesaccruingeach
yearfromlicencesorleasesforthepurpose
ofprospectingfor,ortheextractionof,
mineralsgrantedbytheGovernmentofthe
93

State]inrespectofanyareawithinan
autonomousdistrictasmaybeagreedupon
betweentheGovernmentoftheState]andthe
DistrictCouncilofsuchdistrictshallbe
madeovertothatDistrictCouncil.

(2)Ifanydisputearisesastotheshareof
suchroyaltiestobemadeovertoaDistrict
Council,itshallbereferredtotheGovernor
fordeterminationandtheamountdetermined
bytheGovernorinhisdiscretionshallbe
deemedtobetheamountpayableundersub-
paragraph(1)ofthisparagraphtothe
DistrictCouncilandthedecisionofthe
Governorshallbefinal.”

80.Para12AwhichisrelevantforMeghalayaisas

follows:

“12A.SectionApplicationofActsofParliamentand
oftheLegislatureoftheStateofMeghalaya
toautonomousdistrictsandautonomous
regionsintheStateofMeghalaya.—

Notwithstandinganythinginthis
Constitution,—

(a)ifanyprovisionofalawmadebya
DistrictorRegionalCouncilintheStateof
Meghalayawithrespecttoanymatter
specifiedinsubparagraph(1)ofparagraph3
ofthisScheduleorifanyprovisionofany
regulationmadebyaDistrictCouncilora
RegionalCouncilinthatStateunder
paragraph8orparagraph10ofthisSchedule,
isrepugnanttoanyprovisionofalawmade
bytheLegislatureoftheStateofMeghalaya
withrespecttothatmatter,then,thelaw
orregulationmadebytheDistrictCouncil
or,asthecasemaybe,theRegionalCouncil
whethermadebeforeorafterthelawmadeby
theLegislatureoftheStateofMeghalaya,
shall,totheextentofrepugnancy,bevoid
94

andthelawmadebytheLegislatureofthe
StateofMeghalayashallprevail;

(b)thePresidentmay,withrespecttoany
ActofParliament,bynotification,direct
thatitshallnotapplytoanautonomous
districtoranautonomousregionintheState
ofMeghalaya,orshallapplytosuchdistrict
orregionoranypartthereofsubjecttosuch
exceptionsormodificationsashemayspecify
inthenotificationandanysuchdirection
maybegivensoastohaveretrospective
effect.

81.Now,werevertbacktoMinesandMinerals

(DevelopmentandSectionRegulation)Act,1957.Act,1957has

beenenactedtoprovidefordevelopmentandregulation

ofminesandmineralsunderthecontroloftheUnion.

Section1oftheActisasfollows:

“Section1.Shorttitle,extentand
commencement.―(1)SectionThisActmaybecalledthe
MinesandMinerals(Developmentand
SectionRegulation)Act,1957.

(2)ItextendstothewholeofIndia.

(3)Itshallcomeintoforceonsuchdate3
astheCentralGovernmentmay,by
notificationintheOfficialGazette,
appoint.”

82.SectionTheActcameintoeffectw.e.f.01.06.1958.

WhetherthereareanyindicationsintheSixthSchedule

oranyotherprovisionofthelawbywhichitcanbe

contendedthatAct,1957isnotapplicableinHills
95

DistrictofTribalareasofStateofMeghalaya?Wemay

firstrefertoSixthScheduleoftheConstitutionwhich

isaprovisionforAdministrationofTribalareasin

theStateofMeghalaya.Para12Asub-clause(b)

empowersthatthePresidentmay,withrespecttoany

ActofParliament,bynotification,directthatit

shallnotapplytoanautonomousdistrictoran

autonomousregionintheStateofMeghalaya,orshall

applytosuchdistrictorregionoranypartthereof

subjecttosuchexceptionsormodificationsashemay

specifyinthenotification.Nonotificationhasbeen

issuedbythePresidentunderPara12A(b)oftheVIth

ScheduleoftheConstitution,although,thesaidPara

12A(b)isintheConstitutionwitheffectfrom

21.1.1972.Thus,thereisnothinginSixthScheduleof

theConstitutionwhichmayindicateaboutthe

inapplicabilityofAct,1957withregardtotheHills

DistrictsofStateofMeghalaya.Atthisjuncture,we

mayalsonoticethereportoftheComptrollerand

AuditorGeneralofIndiafortheyearended31stMarch,

2013.Inpara7.5.1thereportmentions:

“7.5.1.Introduction
96

Meghalayaisendowedwithsizeabledeposits
ofvaluablemineralslikecoal,limestone,
uranium,graniteandclay.Mineralsbeing
valuableresource,theextractionneedsto
bemaximisedthroughscientificmethodsof
miningwithaimtoensureextractionand
utilisationofminerals.Besides,mostofthe
mineralreservesareinareaswhichareunder
forestcoverandhence,miningintheState
hasenvironmentalimplications.In
Meghalaya,individualandlocalcommunities
haveownershipoverthelandandtheminerals
andbarringafewreserveforestareas,the
StateGovernmenthasnoownershipoverthe
minerals.TheactivitiesoftheMining
Geology(MG)Department,Governmentof
Meghalaya(GOM)arelimitedtocollectionof
royaltyonthemineralsexportedoutsidethe
Statebesidesgeological
investigation/explorationofminerals.The
MinesandMinerals(Developmentand
SectionRegulation)Act,1957laysdownthelegal
frameworkforregulationofminesand
developmentofminerals.TheMineral
ConcessionRules,1960andtheMineral
ConservationandDevelopmentRules,1988were
accordinglyframedundertheSectionMMDRActframed
forconservationandsystematicdevelopment
ofmineralsandforregulatinggrantof
permits,licencesandleases.TheGOMhas
introducedtheMeghalayaMineralCessAct,
1988tomobiliseadditionalrevenue.Further
withaviewtofacilitatingsystematic,
scientificandplannedutilisationofmineral
resourcesandtostreamlinemineralbased
developmentoftheState,theMeghalayaMines
andMineralPolicy,2012hasalsobeen
notifiedwitheffectfrom5November2012.”

83.TheComptrollerandAuditorGeneralhasclearly

statedthatAct,1957isfullyapplicablefor
97

regulationofminesandregulationofmineralsinthe

StateofMeghalaya.

84.LearnedcounselfortheStateofMeghalayahas

alsofiledbeforeusalongwithanaffidavitofJoint

SecretaryofGovernmentofMeghalaya,Miningand

GeologyDepartmentdated13.04.1018bywhichMeghalaya

MinesandMineralsPolicy,2012issuedbythe

GovernmentofMeghalayaaswellasdraftguidelinesof

coalminingactivitiesintheStatepreparedinthe

year2015hasbeenbroughtontherecord.

85.Clause10ofthePolicyprovidesfor“Regulatory

FrameworkforMineDevelopmentandMining”.Sub-clause

b)ofClause10requiredapplicationformineral

concessioneitherfreshorrenewalistobesubmitted

totheStateGovernmentthroughtheDeputy

CommissioneroftheDistrictwhereintheareaapplied

forissituatedandwithNOCfromDistrictCouncil

concernedandlandowner.Clause10alsorefersto

clearanceofthePollutionControlBoardofMeghalaya

andotherrequirement.Sub-clause(l)further
98

contemplatedthatorderforgrantofmineral

concessionswillbeissuedbytheStateGovernment,

withtheapprovaloftheCentralGovernmentwherever

necessary.Thus,thePolicyof2012contemplated

regulatoryregimeforminingleasebytheState.The

MiningandGeologyDepartmentoftheGovernmenthad

framedadraftguidelinesforcoalminingactivityin

theStatewhichhasalsobeenbroughtonrecordalong

withtheaboveaffidavitdated13.04.2018.

86.Theaboveguidelineswerepreparedafterin

consultationwiththeCentralGovernment.

87.TheabovedraftguidelinespreparedbytheState

clearlymentionsabouttheunregulatedand

unscientificminingbeingcarriedoutintheStateof

Meghalaya.ThePolicyGuidelinesofCoalMiningwhich

ispartoftheguidelinesalsocontainsfollowing

statement:

“SectionTheMinesAct,1952andtheMinesand
Minerals(DevelopmentandSectionRegulation)Act,
1957(MMDR),togetherwiththerulesand
regulationsframedunderthemconstitutethe
basiclawsgoverningtheminingsectorin
99

India.SectionWhiletheMinesAct,1952governsthe
healthandsafetyoftheworkers,theSectionMMDR
Act,1957(includingallamendments)lays
downthelegalframeworkfortheregulation
ofminesanddevelopmentofallminerals
otherthanpetroleumandnaturalgas.The
relevantrulesinforceundertheSectionMMDRAct,
1957aretheMineralConcessionRules(MCR),
1960outlinestheproceduresandconditions
forobtainingaProspectingLicenceorMining
Lease.TheMCDR,1988laysdownguidelines
forensuringminingonascientificbasis,
whileconservingtheenvironment,atthesame
time.

Apartfromtheminingstatutes,whichalso
governenvironmentinmines,Indiahas
elaborateenvironmentstatutesfor
protectionofenvironmentinmining.”

88.OnesubmissionofShriNaphadewithrespectto

directionofNGTtoframeminingpolicybytheState

alsoneedsconsideration.ShriNaphadesubmitsthat

theStateofMeghalayahavingnolegislative

competencewithregardtomajorminerals,National

GreenTribunalcouldnothavedirectedtheStateof

MeghalayatoframeMiningPolicy.

89.Therecanbenodisputetotheprepositionthat

inviewofSectionMMDRAct,1957,thelegislativecompetence

ofStateofMeghalayaunderEntry23ListIIstands
100

denuded.However,undertheSectionMMDRAct,1957aswellas

theMineralConcessionRules,1960,severalstatutory

obligations/jurisdictionshavebeenconferredonthe

StateofMeghalaya,whichshallbereferredtolater

inthisjudgment.

90.WhenunderaParliamentaryenactment,Statehas

beengivensomestatutoryobligations,thereisno

lackofjurisdictionintheStatetoframepolicyto

giveeffecttoorimplementthejurisdictions

conferredontheStatebyParliamentaryenactments.

ItistruethatMiningPolicytobeframedbytheState

hastoconfinetothejurisdictionconferredonitas

pertheSectionMMDRAct,1957andtheRulesframedthereunder.

ThereareotherrelatedissuesconcerningMininglike

protectionofenvironmentandforestsforwhichthe

Statehastodeclareitspolicyforimplementationof

itsobjective.Severalotheraspectsrelatingto

mininglike,rehabilitation,reclamationand

restorationhavetobeeffectivelyimplementedbythe

Stateforwhichalso,itmayberequiredtoframea

policy.WemayfurthernoticethatMeghalayaMines
101

andMineralsPolicy,2012wasalreadyframedbythe

StateofMeghalaya,evenbeforedirectionswereissued

bytheNGT.InpursuanceofNGTdirections,itwas

draftguidelinesof2015,whichwerepreparedbyState

ofMeghalaya.We,thus,areoftheviewthatdirection

ofNGTtodeclareMiningPolicybytheStateof

Meghalayacannotbesaidtobewithoutjurisdiction.

However,theStateinitsMiningPolicycanonly

includethoseareaswhereithasjurisdictionunder

theSectionMMDRAct,1957andtheRulesframedthereunder.

91.AperusaloftheentirePolicydocumentsindicate

thatPolicyhasbeenframedbytheStateasperthe

Act,1957andMinerals(Concession)Rules,1960.

92.TheGovernmentofMeghalayahasalsomadea

requesttotheGovernmentofIndiaintheyear2015

forissuanceofPresidentialnotificationunderPara

12A(b)ofSixthScheduleforexemptingStateof

MeghalayafromcertainprovisionsoftheSectionMMDRAct,

1957.Afterseveraldeliberations,theUnionofIndia

hascommunicatedthroughitsO.M.dated12.03.2019
102

thatitisnotpossibletoaccedetotherequestof

theGovernmentofMeghalayaforissuanceof

PresidentialnotificationunderPara12A(b)ofSixth

Schedule.Thus,therequestmadebytheStateof

Meghalayatoissueexemptionhasnotalsobeenacceded

to.TherequestoftheStateofMeghalayathat

exemptionbegrantedbyPresidentialnotification

underPara12A(b)itselfexpressesrecognitionofthe

StateofMeghalayathatprovisionsofAct,1957are

applicable.We,thus,concludethatthereisnothing

inSixthScheduleoftheConstitutionwhichinany

mannerexcludetheapplicabilityofAct,1957inthe

TribalareasofHillsDistrictofStateofMeghalaya.

PointNo.3

93.Weneedtoscanthroughthestatutoryschemeof

Act,1957tofindoutastowhetherParliamentary

legislationrequiresobtainingleaseforwinningthe

mineralsinsofarasminingofcoalfromprivately

ownedland/communityownedlandareconcerned?
103

94.Section2oftheAct,1957containsdeclaration

tothefollowingeffect:

“2.DeclarationastoexpediencyofUnion
Control.―Itisherebydeclaredthatitis
expedientinthepublicinterestthatthe
Unionshouldtakeunderitscontrolthe
regulationofminesandthedevelopmentof
mineralstotheextenthereinafter
provided.”

95.SectionTheAct,1957hasbeenenactedinreferenceto

Entry54ListIofSeventhScheduletothefollowing

effect:

“Entry54.Regulationofminesandmineral
developmenttotheextenttowhichsuch
regulationanddevelopmentunderthecontrol
oftheUnionisdeclaredbyParliamentby
lawtobeexpedientinthepublicinterest.”

96.Atthisjuncture,wemaynoticeEntry23ofList

IIwhichistothefollowingeffect:

“Entry23.Regulationofminesandmineral
developmentsubjecttotheprovisionsofList
Iwithrespecttoregulationanddevelopment
underthecontroloftheUnion.”

97.TheLegislativepowerunderEntry23issubject

totheprovisionofListIwithrespecttoregulation

anddevelopmentunderthecontroloftheUnion.When

theUnionhasdeclaredtohavetakenunderitscontrol
104

theregulationofminesanddevelopmentofmineralsto

theextentprovidedintheAct.Legislativepowerof

theStatetotheaboveextentisdenuded.Learned

counselfortheappellanthavealsoveryfairlynot

disputedthepositioninlaw.

98.Section3oftheActcontainsdefinitionclause.

Section3(c)definesminingleaseandSection3(d)

definesaminingoperationwhicharetothefollowing

effect:

“Section3(c)“mininglease”meansalease
grantedforthepurposeofundertakingmining
operations,andincludesasub-leasegranted
forsuchpurpose;

Section3(d)“miningoperations”meansany
operationsundertakenforthepurposeof
winninganymineral;”

99.Section4oftheActcontainsgeneralrestriction

onundertakingprospectingandminingoperation.

Section4iscouchedintermsofaninjunction.No

personshallundertakeanyminingoperationsinany

area,exceptunderandinaccordancewiththeterms

andconditionsofareconnaissancepermitorofa

prospectinglicenceor,asthecasemaybe,ofamining
105

lease,grantedunderthisActandrulesmade

thereunder.Sub-section(1)ofSection4isrelevant

inthepresentcasewhichisasfollows:

4.Prospectingorminingoperationstobe
underlicenceorlease.―(1)Nopersonshall
undertakeanyreconnaissance,prospectingor
miningoperationsinanyarea,exceptunder
andinaccordancewiththetermsand
conditionsofareconnaissancepermitorof
aprospectinglicenceor,asthecasemaybe,
ofamininglease,grantedunderthisActand
therulesmadethereunder:

Providedthatnothinginthissub-section
shallaffectanyprospectingormining
operationsundertakeninanyareain
accordancewithtermsandconditionsofa
prospectinglicenceorminingleasegranted
beforethecommencementofthisActwhichis
inforceatsuchcommencement:

Providedfurtherthatnothinginthis
sub-sectionshallapplytoanyprospecting
operationsundertakenbytheGeological
SurveyofIndia,theIndianBureauofMines,
theAtomicMineralsDirectoratefor
ExplorationandResearchoftheDepartment
ofAtomicEnergyoftheCentralGovernment,
theDirectoratesofMiningandGeologyofany
StateGovernment(bywhatevernamecalled),
andtheMineralExplorationCorporation
Limited.,aGovernmentcompanywithinthe
meaningofclause(45)ofSectionsection2ofthe
CompaniesAct,2013(18of2013),andany
suchentitythatmaybenotifiedforthis
purposebytheCentralGovernment]:

Providedalsothatnothinginthissub-
sectionshallapplytoanymininglease
(whethercalledminingleasemining
concessionorbyanyothername)inforce
106

immediatelybeforethecommencementofthis
ActintheUnionterritoryofGoa,Damanand
Diu.”

100.TheuseofwordnopersoninSection4(1)is

withoutanexception.ThereisnothinginSection4(1)

toindicatethatrestrictioncontainedinSection4(1)

doesnotapplywithregardtoapersonwhoisownerof

themine.Further,word‘anyarea’underSection4(1)

alsohassignificancewhichdoesnothaveany

exception.Furtherphrase‘exceptunderandin

accordancewithtermsandconditionwithamininglease

grantedundertheAct’arealsosignificantwhichmake

theintentandpurposeofprohibitionclearandloud.

Section5containsrestrictiononthegrantof

prospectinglicencesandminingleaseinthefollowing

words:

5.Restrictionsonthegrantofprospecting
licencesorminingleases.―(1)AState
Governmentshallnotgrantareconnaissance
permit,prospectinglicenceormininglease
toanypersonunlesssuchperson―

(a)isanIndiannational,orcompanyas
definedin1clause(20)ofsection2
oftheCompaniesAct,2013(18of
2013)];and

(b)satisfiessuchconditionsasmaybe
prescribed:

107

Providedthatinrespectofanymineral
specifiedinPartAandPartBoftheFirst
Schedule,noreconnaissancepermit,
prospectinglicenceorminingleaseshallbe
grantedexceptwiththepreviousapprovalof
theCentralGovernment.

Explanation.―Forthepurposesofthissub-
section,apersonshallbedeemedtobean
Indiannational,―

(a)inthecaseofafirmorother
associationofindividuals,onlyif
allthemembersofthefirmormembers
oftheassociationarecitizensof
India;and

(b)inthecaseofanindividual,onlyif
heisacitizenofIndia.

(2)Nominingleaseshallbegrantedbythe
StateGovernmentunlessitissatisfiedthat―

(a)thereisevidencetoshowthe
existenceofmineralcontentsinthe
areaforwhichtheapplicationfora
miningleasehasbeenmadein
accordancewithsuchparametersas
maybeprescribedforthispurposeby
theCentralGovernment;

(b)thereisaminingplandulyapproved
bytheCentralGovernment,orbythe
StateGovernment,inrespectofsuch
categoryofminesasmaybespecified
bytheCentralGovernment,forthe
developmentofmineraldepositsin
theareaconcerned:

Providedthataminingleasemaybe
granteduponthefilingofaminingplanin
accordancewithasystemestablishedbythe
StateGovernmentforpreparation,
certification,andmonitoringofsuchplan,
withtheapprovaloftheCentralGovernment.
108

101.TheprovisotoSection5(1)isrelevantsinceit

containsafurtherrestrictionthatnomininglease

shallbegrantedwithregardtoanymineralsspecified

inParaAofFirstScheduleexceptwiththeprevious

approvaloftheCentralGovernment.Weinthepresent

caseareconcernedwithcoalwhichisinParaAof

FirstSchedule.

102.ThenextprovisionwhichisrelevantisSection

13whichprovidesforRulemakingpowerofCentral

Governmentinrespectofminerals.Section13sub-

section(1)andSection13sub-section(2)insofar

asrelevantinthepresentcaseareasfollows:

“13.PowerofCentralGovernmenttomake
rulesinrespectofminerals.―(1)TheCentral
Governmentmay,bynotificationinthe
OfficialGazette,makerulesforregulating
thegrantofreconnaissancepermits,
prospectinglicencesandminingleasesin
respectofmineralsandforpurposes
connectedtherewith.

(2)Inparticular,andwithoutprejudiceto
thegeneralityoftheforegoingpower,such
rulesmayprovideforalloranyofthe
followingmatters,namely:―

(a)thepersonbywhom,andthemannerin
which,applicationsforreconnaissance
109

permits,prospectinglicencesormining
leasesinrespectoflandinwhichthe
mineralsvestintheGovernmentmaybe
madeandthefeestobepaidtherefor;
……………………………

(f)theprocedureforobtaining5[a
reconnaissancepermit,aprospecting
licenceoramininglease]inrespectof
anylandinwhichthemineralsvestina
personotherthantheGovernmentandthe
termsonwhich,andtheconditions
subjecttowhich,such6[apermit,
licenceorleasemaybegrantedor
renewed;

…………………………”

103.Whenwereadclause(a)andclause(f),it

makesclearthattheRulescanbemadeforgrantof

miningleaseinrespectoflandinwhichmineralsvest

intheGovernmentaswellasinrespectofanylandin

whichmineralsvestinpersonotherthanGovernment.

Thestatutoryscheme,thus,isclearthatleasecanbe

grantedwithregardtoboththecategoriesofland,

landinwhichGovernmentisownerofmineralsandland

inwhichmineralsvestinpersonotherthanGovernment.

TheTribals,ownersofthemineralsshallexpressly

fallinRulemakingpoweroftheGovernmentunder

Section13(f).

110

104.TheCentralGovernmentinexerciseofpower

underSection13hasframedRules,namely,Minerals

(Concession)Rules,1960.ChapterIVoftheRules

containsaheading“GrantofMiningLeaseinrespect

oflandtheMineralsvestintheGovernment”.Rules22

to40containvariousprovisionsunderChapterIV.

ChapterVhasaseparateheadingwhichis“Procedure

forobtainingaprospectinglicenceorminingleasein

respectoflandinwhichthemineralsvestinaperson

otherthantheGovernment”.Thus,ChapterVcontains

provisionsforgrantofleaseinrespectofminerals

whichvestinthepersonotherthantheGovernment.

Rules41and42whicharerelevantarequotedbelow:

“41.Applicabilityofthischapter:-The
provisionsofthischaptershallapplyonly
tothegrantofprospectinglicencesand
miningleasesinrespectoflandinwhichthe
mineralsvestexclusivelyinapersonother
thantheGovernment.

42.Restrictionsonthegrantofprospecting
licenceandmininglease:-(1)Noprospecting
licenceorminingleaseshallbegrantedto
anypersonunlesshehasfiledanaffidavit
statingthathehas–

(i)filedup-to-dateincometaxreturns;

111

(ii)paidtheincometaxassessedon
him,and

(iii)paidtheincometaxonthebasis
ofself-assessmentasprovidedin
theSectionIncomeTaxAct,1961(43of
1961).(2)Exceptwiththe
previousapprovaloftheCentral
Government,noprospectinglicence
orminingleaseshallbegranted
inrespectofanymineral
specifiedintheFirstScheduleto
theAct.”

105.ThestatutoryschemedelineatedbySection

13(2)(f)andtheMinerals(Concession)Rules,1960

clearlycontemplategrantofmininglease,withregard

toboththecategoriesofland,thatis,landinwhich

mineralsvestintheGovernment,andthelandinwhich

mineralsvestinapersonotherthantheGovernment.

Instatutoryprovisionsthereisnokindofexception

ascontendedbythelearnedcounseloftheappellant

thatwhenownerhimselfwantstowinthemineralshe

doesnotrequireanymininglease.Thesubmissionis

contrarytotheexpressstatutoryscheme,intheevent

submissionofappellantisacceptedthatwithregard

tomineralswhichvestinaprivatepersonnomining

leaseisrequired,thewholeobjectoftheUnionby

whichitdeclaredtohavetakenunderitscontrol
112

regulationofminesanddevelopmentofmineralsshall

befrustrated.

106.Anotherlimbofsubmissionoftheappellant

needstobenoticedhere.ShriNaphadesubmitsthat

thereisnoconceptofownerofalandgrantinglease

tohimself.Hesubmitsthatconceptofleaseiswell

knownandwellrecognisedconceptascontainedin

Section105ofTransferofPropertyAct.Section105

oftheTransferofPropertyActisasfollows:

“Section105.Leasedefined.Aleaseof
immovablepropertyisatransferofaright
toenjoysuchproperty,madeforacertain
time,expressorimplied,orinperpetuity,
inconsiderationofapricepaidorpromised,
orofmoney,ashareofcrops,serviceorany
otherthingofvalue,toberendered
periodicallyoronspecifiedoccasionstothe
transferorbythetransferee,whoacceptsthe
transferonsuchterms.

Lessor,lessee,premiumandrentdefined:The
transferoriscalledthelessor,the
transfereeiscalledthelessee,theprice
iscalledthepremium,andthemoney,share,
serviceorotherthingtobesorenderedis
calledtherent.”
113

107.Halsbury’sLawsofEngland,FourthEditionPara

321definesnatureofminingleaseinthefollowing

manner:

“321.Natureofmininglease.Aleasemaybe
grantedoflandoranypartofland,andsince
mineralsareapartofthelanditfollows
thataleasecanbegrantedofthesurface
ofthelandandthemineralsbelow,orofthe
surfacealone,orofthemineralsalone.It
hasbeensaidthatacontractfortheworking
andgettingofminerals,althoughfor
conveniencecalledamininglease,isnotin
realityaleaseatallinthesenseinwhich
onespeaksofanagriculturallease,andthat
suchacontract,properlyconsidered,is
reallyasaleofaportionofthelandata
pricepayablebyinstalments,thatis,byway
ofrentorroyalty,spreadoveranumberof
years.”

108.ThisCourthadoccasiontoconsidertheconcept

ofminingleaseunderAct,1957inSectionSRITARKESHWARSIO

THAKURJIUvs.DARDASSDEYCO.ANDOTHERS,1979(3)

SCC106,thisCourtheldthattermleaseoccurringin

Section3(C)ofAct67of1957doesnotappeartohave

beenusedinthenarrowtechnicalsenseinwhichitis

definedinSection105oftheTransferofPropertyAct

butithasallthecharacteristicsofaleaseas

definedintheSectionTransferofPropertyAct.Inparagraph

31followingwaslaiddown:

114

“31.Itisimportanttobearinmindthatthe
term“lease”occurringinthedefinitionof
“mininglease”giveninSection3(c)ofAct
67of1957doesnotappeartohavebeenused
inthenarrowtechnicalsenseinwhichitis
definedinSection105oftheTransferof
PropertyAct.But,asrightlypointedoutby
aBenchoftheCalcuttaHighCourtinSectionFala
KrishnaPalv.JagannathMarwari.a
settlementofthecharacterofamininglease
iseverywhereinIndiaregardedas“lease”.

Amininglease,therefore,maybe
meticulouslyandstrictlysatisfyinall
cases,allthecharacteristicsofa“lease”
asdefinedintheSectionTransferofPropertyAct.
Nevertheless,inthelegalacceptedsense,
ithasalwaysbeenregardedasaleasein
thiscountry.”

109.ThisCourtproceededfurthertoconsider

Section105oftheTransferofPropertyActandopined

followinginparagraphs37:

“37.Arighttocarryonminingoperations
inlandtoextractaspecifiedmineraland
toremoveandappropriatethatmineral,isa
“righttoenjoyimmovableproperty”within
themeaningofSection105;moreso,when—
asintheinstantcase—itiscoupledwith
arighttobeinitsexclusivekhas
possessionforaspecifiedperiod.The“right
toenjoyimmovableproperty”spokenofin
Section105,meanstherighttoenjoythe
propertyinthemannerinwhichthatproperty
canbeenjoyed.Ifthesubject-matterofthe
leaseisminerallandorasand-mine,asin
thecasebeforeus,itcanonlybeenjoyed
andoccupiedbythelesseebyworkingit,as
indicatedinSection108,SectionTransferof
PropertyAct,whichregulatestherightsand
115

liabilitiesoflessorsandlesseesof
immovableproperty.”

110.ThisCourtfurtherfollowingtheNageshwarBux

Royvs.BengalCoalCo.,LR(1930)58IA29,inSectionState

ofKaranatakaandothersvs.SubhashRukmayyaGuttedar

andothers,1993Supp.(3)290laiddownfollowingin

paragraph6:

“6………Thequestion,therefore,iswhetherthe
grantoftherighttoextracttheminor
mineralfromGovernmentquarryisaleaseor
alicenceandwhetherthecontractoris
liabletopaytheroyaltyinrespectofminor
mineralextractedfromtheGovernmentquarry.

Section105oftheTransferofPropertyAct
definesaleaseofimmovablepropertyasa
transferofarighttoenjoysuchproperty
madeforacertaintime,expressorimplied,
orinperpetuity,inconsiderationofaprice
paidorpromised,orofmoney,ashareof
crops,serviceoranyotherthingofvalue,
toberenderedperiodicallyoronspecified
occasionstothetransferorbythe
transferee,whoacceptsthetransferonsuch
terms.Thenormalconnotationoftheterm
leaseisthepreservationofthedemised
estatetobeinoccupationandenjoyment
thereofforaspecifiedperiodorin
perpetuitiesforconsideration;thecorpusby
userthereofdoesnotdisappearandatthe
expiryofthetermoronterminationthesame
ishandedovertothelessorsubjecttothe
termsofthecontract,expressorimplied.A
righttocarryonminingoperationsinthe
landonsurfaceorsub-soilistoextractthe
specifiedquantityofthemineralsfound
therein,toremoveandappropriatethat
116

mineral.Section9oftheMinesandMinerals
(RegulationSectionDevelopment)Act,1957affords
theguidanceinthisbehalf.Itsaysthatthe
holderofaminingleaseoragent,etc.is
entitledtoremoveorconsumethemineral.
Itwouldmeandestructionoftheestate
leasedoutandappropriationthereofon
paymentofconsiderationi.e.royalty.
Therefore,itisarighttoenjoyimmovable
propertywithinthemeaningofSection105
moresowhen,asintheinstantcase,itis
coupledwitharighttobeinoccupationor
enterintopossessionforaspecifiedperiod.
Section3(d)oftheActdefines‘mining
operations’tomeananyoperationundertaken
forthepurposeofwinninganyminerals.It
istruethatnoright,titleorinteresthas
beencreatedinthecontractoroverthe
miningarea.Buthehasbeenpermittedto
removeandusetheminormineralsinthe
executionoftheworksasits(sichis)right
toenjoyimmovablepropertyspokenofin
Section105whichmeanstherighttoenjoy
thepropertyinthemannerinwhichthat
propertycanbeenjoyed.InNageshwarBuxRoy
v.BengalCoalCo.1LordMacmillanspeaking
fortheBoardheldthat:

“Inconsideringthecharacterand
effectofactsofpossessioninthe
caseofamineralfield,itis
necessarytobearinmindthenature
ofthesubjectandthepossessionof
whichitissusceptible.Owingtothe
inaccessibilityofmineralsinthe
earth,itisnotpossibletotake
actualphysicalpossessionatonceof
awholemineralfield:itcanbe
occupiedonlybyextractingthe
mineralsanduntilthewholeminerals
areexhaustedthephysicaloccupation
mustnecessarilybepartial.”
117

111.Thewordminingleasehasbeengivenspecific

meaningunderAct,1957.Itiswellsettledprinciple

ofinterpretationthattheprovisionsofanAct

includingdefinitionofatermistobeinterpretedin

amannerwhichmayadvancetheobjectofthe

legislation.Theessentialcharacteristicofmining

leaseisthatitisgrantedforthepurposeof

undertakingminingoperationandminingoperation

meansanyoperationundertakenforthepurposeof

winningthemineral.Applyingaforesaiddefinitionin

theMinerals(Concession)Rules,1960underChapterV

itcannotbesaidthatnominingleaseiscontemplated

withrespecttolandwheremineralvestsexclusively

inaprivateperson.

112.Theexaminationofastatutoryscheme

applicableinTribalareasofStateofMeghalayashall

notbecompleteunlesswenoticetwomoreaspects,

theyare(i)theSectionMinesAct,1952andtheRegulations

framedthereunder;(2)EnvironmentalProtectionAct,

1986andthenotificationissuedthereunderwith

regardtominingproject.

118

113.SectionTheMinesAct,1952isanActtoamendand

consolidatethelawrelatingtotheregulationof

labourandsafetyofmines.Theactcontainsvarious

provisionsregardinginspectionofminingoperation

andmanagementofmines.Section16providesanotice

tobegiventominingoperationsbytheowneragentor

managerofamine.Section16isasfollows:

“Section16.Noticetobegivenofmining
operations.-(1)Theowner,agentormanager
ofamineshall,beforethecommencementof
anyminingoperation,givetotheChief
Inspector,theController,IndianBureauof
Minesandthedistrictmagistrateofthe
districtinwhichthemineissituate,notice
inwritinginsuchformandcontainingsuch
particularsrelatingtothemineasmaybe
prescribed.

(2)Anynoticegivenundersub-section
(1)shallbesogivenastoreachthepersons
concernedatleastonemonthbeforethe
commencementofanyminingoperation.”

114.Section18containsdutiesand

responsibilitiesofowners,agentsandmanagers.There

arevariousotherprovisionsintheSectionMinesAct,1952

whicharemandatorytobefollowedbeforeworkingany

mine.Learnedcounselfortheappellanthasnot
119

disputedthattheprovisionsoftheSectionMinesAct,1952

areapplicablewithregardtothecoalmininginthe

StateofMeghalaya.He,however,submitsthatthere

arenopowerswiththeDistrictMagistrateorState

OfficialsundertheSectionMinesAct,1952.ChapterIIof

theMinesAct,1952dealswithInspectorsand

CertifyingSurgeons.Section5(3)providedthatthe

DistrictMagistratemayexercisethepowersand

performthedutiesofanInspectorsubjecttothe

generalorspecialordersoftheCentralGovernment.

Section5(3)isasfollows:-

“5(3)Thedistrictmagistratemayexercise
thepowersandperformthedutiesofan
Inspectorsubjecttothegeneralorspecial
ordersoftheCentralGovernment.”

115.Theaboveprovisionclearlyempowersthe

DistrictMagistratetoexercisethepowersandperform

thedutiesofanInspectorbutsubjecttogeneraland

specialordersofCentralGovernment,whichmeansthat

theremaybesomerestrictiononthepowerofthe

DistrictMagistrateasdirectedbyCentralGovernment.

Inthiscontext,ShriNaphadehasreferredtoa

notificationdated18.09.1953issuedundersub-section
120

3ofSection5oftheSectionMinesAct,1952,whichistothe

followingeffect:-

“NewDelhi,the18thSeptember,1953
S.R.O.1789–Inpursuanceofsub-Sectionsection3
ofSectionsection5oftheMinesAct,1952(XXXVof
1952),theCentralGovernmentherebydirects
thatinexercisingthepowersandperforming
thedutiesofanInspector,theDistrict
Magistrateshallnot,withoutpriorreference
totheChiefInspector,takedirectaction
orissueanyorderinrespectofanymatter
solelyconnectedwiththetechnical
direction,managementorsupervisionofany
mine,eventhoughsuchdirection,management
orsupervisionmayappeartohimtobe
dangerousordefective.

[No.M-41(37052.]
P.N.SHARMA,UnderSecy.”

116.Therestrictionasisapparentfromtheabove

notificationiswithregardtomatterssolely

connectedwiththetechnicaldirection,managementor

supervisionofanymine.Theabovenotificationdoes

nottakeawayallthefunctionsoftheDistrict

Magistratebutrestrictioniswithregardtoarea

mentionedtherein.Asnotedabove,Section16obliged

theowner,agentormanagerofaminetogivenotice

beforethecommencementofanyminingoperationtothe

districtmagistrateofthedistrictinwhichthemine

issituate.Section75oftheMinesAct,1952also
121

empowerstheDistrictMagistratetoinstitute

prosecutionagainstanyowner,agentormanagerfor

anyoffenceundertheSectionMinesAct,1952.Section75is

asfollows:-

“75.Prosecutionofowner,agentor
manager.–Noprosecutionshallbeinstituted
againstanyowner,agentormanagerforany
offenceunderthisActexceptattheinstance
oftheChiefInspectororofthedistrict
magistrateorofanInspectorauthorisedin
thisbehalfbygeneralorspecialorderin
writingbytheChiefInspector;

ProvidedthattheChiefInspectororthe
districtmagistrateortheInspectorasso
authorisedshall,beforeinstitutingsuch
prosecution,satisfyhimselfthattheowner,
agentormanagerhadfailedtoexerciseall
duediligencetopreventthecommissionof
suchoffence.

Providedfurtherthatinrespectofan
offencecommittedinthecourseofthe
technicaldirectionandmanagementofamine,
thedistrictmagistrateshallnotinstitute
anyprosecutionagainstanowner,agentor
managerwithoutthepreviousapprovalofthe
ChiefInspector.”

117.We,thus,donotacceptthesubmissionofShri

NaphadethatDistrictMagistratehasnojurisdiction

undertheSectionMinesAct,1952totakeanyaction.

118.InexerciseofthepowerunderSection57of

MinesAct,1952anewsetofregulationshasbeen
122

framed,namely,CoalMinesRegulations,2017.

Regulation2(r)defines“DistrictMagistrate”.The

Regulationscontainvariousregulatoryprovisionswith

regardtomines.ChapterIIdealswithreturns,notices

andrecords.ChapterIVdealswithInspectorsandMine

Officials.TheRegulationscontainseveralregulatory

provisionswhichneedtobefollowedwhileworkinga

minebytheownerorhisagent.Theenforcementof

SectionMinesAct,1952andtheRegulations,2017havetobe

ensuredinthepublicinterestbythestateof

Meghalaya.

119.NowwecometotheSectionEnvironment(Protection)

Act,1986.Anotificationdated14.09.2006wasissued

bytheMinistryofEnvironmentandForestsinexercise

ofpowerunderSection3(3)oftheEnvironment

ProtectionAct,1986.Section3oftheAct,1986which

providedforrequirementsofpriorenvironmental

clearancewithregardtoprojectsenumeratestherein.

Scheduletothenotificationlistedtheprojectsor

activitiesrequiringpriorenvironmentalclearance.

“Miningofminerals”includedatItemNo.1(a)buteven
123

forminingprojectrequirementofminimum5hectares

areawasrequiredforapplicabilityoftheproject.

SubstitutingItemNo.1(a)ofNotificationdated

14.09.2006anewnotificationdated15.01.2016has

beenissued.InplaceofItemNo.1(a)newentryhas

beensubstitutedinrespectofcoalmineleasewhich

istothefollowingeffect:

(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)

“1(a)(i)50haof50haofGeneral
MiningminingleaseminingConditions
ofareasinleaseshall
mineralsrespectofareainapply
non-coalminerespectexcept:
leaseofnon-
(i)for
coalmine
projector
lease
activity
150haof
150haofmining
mininglease
ofminingofminor
areain
leaseminerals
respectof
areainof
coalmine
respectCategory
lease
ofcoal‘B2’(upto
lease25haof
mining
Asbestos
lease
mining
area);
irrespective
ofminingarea
(ii)River
bedmining
projects
onaccount
ofinter-
state
boundary.
124

120.IftheprojectwasunderCategory‘A’,

environmentalclearanceisrequiredfromMinistryof

EnvironmentandForestswhereasaspernewnotification

dated15.01.2016forproject‘B’environmental

clearanceisrequiredfromStateEnvironmental

AssessmentAuthoritywithrespectofcoalmininglease

areaoflessthanorequalto150hectares.Nowasper

statutoryregimebroughtinforcebynotificationdated

15.01.2016environmentalclearanceisrequiredfora

projectofcoalforminingofanyextentofarea.We

havedealtwiththenotificationdated15.01.2016,

sinceitwasplacedbeforeusandsubmissionsweremade

bylearnedcounselfortheparties.Thenotification

dated15.01.2016beingastatutoryprovisionshall

operateonitsownforceandnoorderofanyCourtis

requiredforenforcementofnotificationdated

15.01.2016.Wehavedealtthematteronlyinviewto

clarifythestatutoryregimepertainingtominingof

coal.

125

121.Whileimplementingstatutoryregimefor

carryingminingoperationsintheHillsDistrictofthe

StateofMeghalaya,theStateofMeghalayahasto

ensurecomplianceofnotonlySectionMMDRAct,1957butSectionMines

Act,1952aswellasEnvironment(Protection)Act,1986.

PointNo.4

122.Wehavingheldthatforcarryingoutmining

operationsinprivatelyownedandcommunityownedland

inHillsDistrictsofMeghalaya,obtainingamining

leaseisamandatoryrequirementforcarryingoutthe

mining,wehavetoexaminetheprocedureforgrantof

suchminingleaseandtheauthority/person,whois

competenttograntsuchlease.

123.ChapterIVoftheMineralConcessionRules,

1960dealswithgrantofminingleasesinrespectof

landinwhichthemineralsvestintheGovernmentand

ChapterVdealswithprocedureforobtaininga

prospectinglicenceorminingleaseinrespectofland

inwhichthemineralsvestinapersonotherthanthe

Government.ChapterIVcontainsRules22to40and
126

ChapterVcontainsRules41to52andtheprocedureand

mannerofapplyingforminingleaseandgrantoflease

ascontainedinChapterIVisnotmadeapplicableto

theprocedureasgiveninChapterVexceptthatby

virtueofRule45(i)certainconditionsofmininglease

ascontainedinRule27underChapterIVaremade

applicableforminingleaseunderChapterV.

124.Rule22(1)providesthatanapplicationforthe

grantofaminingleaseinrespectoflandinwhichthe

mineralsvestintheGovernmentshallbemadetothe

StateGovernmentinFormIthroughsuchofficeror

authorityastheStateGovernmentmayspecifyinthis

behalf.InChapterV,thereisnosuchrule,which

requiresmakinganapplicationforleasetotheState

Government.Thereisamarkeddifferencebetweenthe

rulescontainedinChapterIVandrulescontainedin

ChapterV,fewofwhicharerelevanttonoticeforthe

purposesofthiscase.Rule27(2)providesthata

miningleasemaycontainsuchotherconditionsasthe

StateGovernmentmaydeemnecessaryinregardtothe

mattersenumeratedtherein.WhereasRule45(iii)
127

providesthateveryminingleasemaycontainsuchother

conditions,notbeinginconsistentwiththeprovisions

oftheActandtheserules,asmaybeagreedupon

betweentheparties.Theaboveprovisiongivesan

indicationthatintheleaseexecutedbyChapterV,the

omissionofword“StateGovernment”inRule45(iii)is

indicativeofthefactthatconditions,whichareto

beaddedhastobeagreeduponbetweentheparties.

MostimportantruletobenoticedisRule45inthis

context,whichistothefollowingeffect:-

“45.Conditionsofmininglease:-Every
miningleaseshallbesubjecttothe
followingconditions:-

(i)theprovisionsofclauses(b)to(l)and

(p)to(u)ofsub-rule(1)ofrule27shall
applytosuchleaseswiththemodification
thatinclauses(c)and(d)forthewords
"StateGovernment"theword"lessor"shall
besubstituted;

(ia)miningoperationsshallbeundertaken
inaccordancewiththedulyapprovedmining
plan;

(ii)Omitted.;

(iii)theleasemaycontainsuchother
conditions,notbeinginconsistentwiththe
provisionsoftheActandtheserules,asmay
beagreeduponbetweentheparties;

(iv)ifthelesseemakesanydefaultin
paymentofroyaltyasrequiredbySectionsection9
Section128

orcommitsabreachofanyoftheconditions
ofthelease,thelessorshallgivenotice
tothelesseerequiringhimtopaythe
royaltyorremedythebreach,asthecasemay
be,withinsixtydaysfromthedateofthe
receiptofthenoticeandiftheroyaltyis
notpaidorthebreachisnotremediedwithin
suchperiod,thelessorwithoutprejudiceto
anyproceedingthatmaybetakenagainstthe
lesseedeterminethelease;

(v)thelesseemaydeterminetheleaseatany
timebygivingnotlessthanoneyear’s
noticeinwritingtolessor.”

125.ItisprovidedinRule45(i)thatinclauses

(c)and(d)ofRule27forthewords“StateGovernment”

theword“lessor”shallbesubstituted,whichgivesa

clearindicationthatStateGovernmentisnotalessor

inaleasegrantedunderChapterV.Rule27(5)and

Rule45(iv)isalsorelevanttonotice.Rule27(5)

providesasfollows:-

”27(5)Ifthelesseemakesanydefaultinthe
paymentofroyaltyasrequiredunderSectionsection
9orpaymentofdeadrentasrequiredunder
Sectionsection9Aorcommitsabreachofanyofthe
conditionsspecifiedinsub-rules(1),(2)
and(3),excepttheconditionreferredtoin
clause(f)ofsub-rule(1),theState
Governmentshallgivenoticetothelessee
requiringhimtopaytheroyaltyordeadrent
orremedythebreach,asthecasemaybe,
withinsixtydaysfromthedateofthe
receiptofthenoticeandiftheroyaltyor
deadrentisnotpaidorthebreachisnot
remediedwithinthesaidperiod,theState
129

Governmentmay,withoutprejudicetoany
otherproceedingsthatmaybetakenagainst
him,determinetheleaseandforfeitthe
wholeorpartofthesecuritydeposit.”

126.UnderRule27(5),ifthelesseemakesany

defaultinthepaymentoftheroyaltyorthepayment

ofdeadrentorcommitsbreachofanyoftheconditions,

theStateGovernmentshallgivenoticetothelessee

anddeterminetheleaseandforfeitthewholeorpart

ofthesecuritydeposit.Whereasunderrule45(iv),

thesaidpowerhasbeenvestedinthelessor,which

alsoindicatesthatitislessor,whowilldetermine

theleaseandnottheStateGovernment.Other

provisionsofChapterValsosupporttheabove

conclusion.Rule47providesforsubmissionofcopyof

licenceorleasetotheStateGovernmentwithinthree

monthsofthegrantofsuchlicenceorlease.

Requirementofsubmittingthelicenceorleasecopyto

theStateGovernmentindicatethattheStateGovernment

isnottheauthority,whoisgrantingthelease,

otherwisetherewasnorequirementofsubmittingacopy

totheStateGovernment,ifitwascontemplatedthat

StateGovernmentshallgrantthelease.Rule63in
130

ChapterVprovidesthatpreviousapprovalofthe

CentralGovernmenttobeobtainedthroughState

Government,whichistothefollowingeffect:-

“63.PreviousapprovaloftheCentral
GovernmenttobeobtainedthroughState
Government:-Whereinanycaseprevious
approvaloftheCentralGovernmentis
requiredundertheActortheserules,the
applicationforsuchapprovalshallbemade
totheCentralGovernmentthroughtheState
Government.”

127.Ouraboveconclusionisreinforcedwhenwelook

intothestatutoryregimeregardinggrantofmining

leaseaspertheMineralConcessionRules,whichwere

inforcepriortoenforcementofMineralConcession

Rules,1960.PriortoSectionMMDRAct,1957,earlierCentral

LegislationwhichwasgoverningthefieldwasMinesand

Minerals(RegulationandSectionDevelopment)Act,1948,under

whichruleshavebeenframedbyCentralGovernment

namely,MineralConcessionRules,1949.Rule14of

ChapterIIIcontemplatedapplicationforprospecting

license.ChapterIVoftheRules,1949containedthe

heading“grantofMiningLeaseinrespectoflandin

whichthemineralsbelongtoGovernment”.The

provisionsofRule27ofChapterIVprovidefor
131

applicationforminingleaseandtherewereseveral

otherrulesunderChapterIV,whichinsubstancehave

beenretainedinChapterIVofRules,1960.ChapterV

ofRules,1949containedtheheading“grantofmineral

concessionsbyprivatepersons.”Asnotedabove,the

headingofChapterVunderRules,1960is“procedure

forobtainingaprospectinglicenceorminingleasein

respectoflandinwhichthemineralsvestinaperson

otherthantheGovernment.”Rule47ofChapterVof

Rules,1949providefor“conditionsinamininglease”,

whichareinsubstancesimilarasRule45ofRules,

1960.Rule47(iv)oftheRules,1949wasakinto

presentRule45(i)oftheRules,1960.Rule47(iv)of

theRules,1949isasfollows:-

“47.Conditionsofmininglease:-Amining
leasegrantedbyaprivatepersonshallbe
subjecttothefollowingcondition:-

XXXXXXX

(iv)theprovisionsofclauses(i),(ii),

(iii),(iv),(v),(vii),(viii),(ix),(x),
(xi0and(xv)ofsub-rule(1)ofrule41shall
applytosuchleasewiththemodification
thatinclauses(ii),(iii),(iv)and(xv)
forthewords"StateGovernment"theword
"lessor"shallbesubstituted;

XXXXXXXXX”
132

128.Thus,theChapterVofRules,1949dealtwith

theminingleasegrantedbyprivatepersons,i.e.,the

categorywherethemineralswerenotownedbythe

Governmentbutwasownedbyprivatepersons.Chapter

VoftheRules,1960containssubstantiallysimilar

provisions.Thus,ChapterVofRules,1960hastobe

treatedtobedealingwithmineralsownedbyprivate

owners.Theearlierstatutoryregime,whichwas

enforcedasperRules,1949madeitamplyclearthat

mineralconcessionsaretobegrantedbyprivate

personsalso,whichisinsubstancesretainedin

ChapterVofRules,1960.Thus,miningleasetobe

grantedasperChapterVofRules,1960ismininglease

bytheownerofmineralandsimilarconcepthastobe

borrowedandreadinChapterVasnotedabove.Absence

ofanyproceduretomakeanapplicationformining

leasetotheStateGovernmentinChapterVoftheRules,

1960andlessorbeingtheprivatepersonsandnotthe

StateGovernment,clearlyindicatesthatState

Governmentisnottogranttheleaseinrespectofland

ofprivatelyowned/communityownedowners.

133

129.Anotherreasonfornotprovidingany

applicationtoStateGovernmentforgrantofmining

leaseinrespectofminerals,whichvestsinthe

privateownersandcommunityownersisthat;without

consentorwillingnessofprivateowners/community

ownersofminerals,noauthorityisempoweredtogrant

anyminingleasewithregardtominerals,ofwhichhe

istheowner,itistheownerofthemineralsmaybe

privatepersonsorcommunityowners,whoisentitled

tograntleaseofmineralsaspertheprovisionsof

ChapterVofRules,1960.

130.We,thus,concludethatasperthestatutory

provisionscontainedinRules,1960especiallyChapter

V,aminingleaseforminerals,whichbelongstoa

privateowneroracommunityowner,itisnottheState

Government,whichisentitledtoreceiveany

applicationorgrantanymininglease,butitisthe

privateownerorcommunityowner,whoisentitledto

grantaleaseforminingmineralsownedbythem.Issue

No.4isansweredaccordingly.

134

PointNo.5

131.ShriShekharNaphade,learnedseniorcounsel

appearingfortheStateofMeghalayahassubmittedthat

StateofMeghalayahasnocontrolovertheminingof

thecoalbyownersofthemineralssinceitisthe

owners,whohaverighttocarryonmining,whichhas

beentraditionallygoingonintheStateofMeghalaya

forlastseveraldecades.Tofindoutastowhether

StateofMeghalayahasanystatutorycontroloverthe

miningoperationsinStateofMeghalaya,whichisgoing

onforlastseveraldecades,wehavetoexaminethe

statutoryprovisionsgoverningthefield.

132.WehavealreadyheldthatprovisionsofMMRD

Act,1957andMineralConcessionRules,1960are

applicableintheHillsDistrictsoftheStateof

Meghalaya.We,inthepresentcase,areconcernedwith

theminingofcoal,whichisamajormineralasperthe

Act,1957andMineralConcessionRules,1960.Rule42

ofChapterVoftheRules,1960providesfor

restrictionsonthegrantofprospectinglicenceand

mininglease,whichistothefollowingeffect:-
135

“42.Restrictionsonthegrantofprospecting
licenceandmininglease:-(1)Noprospecting
licenceorminingleaseshallbegrantedto
anypersonunlesshehasfiledanaffidavit
statingthathehas–

(i)filedup-to-dateincometaxreturns;

(ii)paidtheincometaxassessedonhim,
and

(iii)paidtheincometaxonthebasisof
self-assessmentasprovidedinthe
SectionIncomeTaxAct,1961(43of1961).

(2)Exceptwiththepreviousapprovalofthe
CentralGovernment,noprospectinglicenceor
miningleaseshallbegrantedinrespectof
anymineralspecifiedintheFirstSchedule
totheAct.”

133.AsperRule42(2),exceptwiththeprevious

approvaloftheCentralGovernment,noprospecting

licenceorminingleaseshallbegrantedinrespectof

anymineralspecifiedintheFirstScheduletotheAct.

Thus,previousapprovalofCentralGovernmentis

mandatorybeforegrantofminingleaseofcoal.Rule

63providesthattheapprovaloftheCentralGovernment

hastobeobtainedthroughtheStateGovernment.Thus,

theStateGovernmenthastobeawarethatanyprevious

approvaloftheCentralGovernmentforminingcoalhas

beenobtainedornot.Thus,restrictionbeing
136

statutoryandwithoutanyexceptionStateGovernment

cannotsaythatithasnoroletoplaywithregardto

miningofcoal.Allapplicationsforpreviousapproval

ofCentralGovernmenthastoberoutedthroughState

Government.ThereareotherrulesinChapterVitself,

whichprovidesforcontroloftheStategovernmentin

theminingofcoal.Rule50empowerstheprovisionfor

prohibitionofworkingofminesbytheState

Government,whichistothefollowingeffect:-

“50.Prohibitionofworkingofmines:-Ifthe
StateGovernmenthasreasontobelievethat
thegrantortransferofaprospecting
licenceoraminingleaseorofanyright,
titleorinterestinsuchlicenceorlease
isincontraventionofanyoftheprovisions
ofthischapter,theStateGovernmentmay,
aftergivingthepartiesanopportunityto
representtheirviewsandwiththeapproval
oftheCentralGovernment,directtheparties
concernednottoundertakeanyprospecting
orminingoperationsintheareatowhichthe
licenceorleaserelates.”

134.TheaboveruleempowerstheStateGovernment

withtheapprovaloftheCentralGovernmenttodirect

thepartiesconcernednottoundertakeanymining

operations,ifithasreasonstobelievethatthegrant

ortransferofminingleaseisincontraventionofany

oftheprovisionsofChapterV.Thus,whenmining
137

operationsofcoalarebeingconductedwithoutprior

approvalofCentralGovernment,Stateisnotpowerless

todirectthepartiesnottoundertakeanyprospective

miningoperationsinthearea.Thepowergivenunder

Rule50isnotonlyenablingpower,butisastatutory

obligationontheStatetoexercisethepowerinthe

publicinterest.Rule51requiresaminingleaseto

furnishtotheStateGovernmentsuchreturnsand

statementsasmaybeprescribed.Rule52providesfor

penalty,whichistothefollowingeffect:-

“52.Penalty:-(1)Iftheholderofa
prospectinglicenceoraminingleaseorhis
transfereeorassigneefails,without
sufficientcause,tofurnishthedocuments
orinformation,orreturnsreferredtoin
rule46,rule47,rule48,orrule51,or
actsinanymannerincontraventionofrule
49orrule50,heshallbepunishablewith
imprisonmentforatermwhichmayextendto
oneyearorfinewhichmayextendtofive
thousandrupeesorwithboth.

(2)Ifanypersongrantsortransfersor
obtainsaprospectinglicenceormininglease
oranyright,titleorinteresttherein,in
contraventionofanyoftheprovisionsof
thischapter,heshallbepunishablewith
imprisonmentwhichmayextendtooneyearor
finewhichmayextendtofivethousandrupees
orboth.”
138

135.Rule52givestheStateGovernmentamplepower

toprosecuteandpunishminingleasesorhis

transfereesorassigneesonviolationoftherulesor

contraventionofanyoftheprovisionsofChapterV,

whichisamplepowertotheStatetoensurethatthe

Actisfaithfullyfollowed.

136.TheStatewasadvisedbytheComptrollerand

AuditorGeneralofIndiainitsreportended31stMarch,

2013inpara4.5.1thattoregulateminingbyfollowing

MinesandMinerals(DevelopmentandSectionRegulation)Act,

1957.Para7.5.8ofthesamereporthasmadethe

followingasrecommendationNo.1:

“RecommendationNo.1:TheMGDepartment
shouldtakenecessarymeasurestoregulate
miningintheStateinaccordancewiththe
provisionsoftheSectionMMDRActandRules
thereunder.”

137.TheStateisthuswellawareofitsstatutory

obligationwhichisreflectedinMiningPolicyof2012

andDraftGuidelines,2015butstillbeforethisCourt

theircontentionthatnominingleaseistobeobtained

forprivatelyowned/communityownedlandinHills
139

DistrictofStateofMeghalayaisunacceptableandnot

inagoodspirit.Ourcountrybeinggovernedbythe

ConstitutionofIndiaalltheStatesaretoimplement

SectionParliamentaryActsintruespiritandinthepresent

casetheStatehavingbeenadvisedtimeandagainby

ComptrollerandAuditorGeneralandbeingwellaware

ofitsstatutoryobligationasnoticedaboveitcomes

illfromtheStatetocontendbeforethisCourtthat

thereisnorequirementofminingleaseforwinningthe

minerals.TheabovestandoftheStatetakenbefore

thisCourtgivestheimpressionthatinsteadof

implementingtheParliamentaryenactmentand

regulatoryregimeformineralregulationsomevested

interestswantstocontinuetheillegalregimeof

illegalminingtothebenefitofthefewpersonswhich

isunacceptableandcondemnable.We,thus,conclude

thattheStateofMeghalayahasjurisdictionandpower

toensurethatnominingofcoalshouldtakeplace

exceptwhenaminingleasegrantedunderMineral

ConcessionRules,1960,ChapterV,asdiscussedabove.
140

PointNo.6

138.Onemorepointwhichneedstobeconsideredis

astowhetherpowertoallotlandforminingpurpose

isvestedinAutonomousDistrictCouncil?The

submissiononbehalfofoneoftheAutonomousDistrict

Councilwhichistheappellantbeforeusaswellason

behalfofStateofMeghalayaisthatAutonomous

DistrictCouncilbeingconstitutionalauthority

constitutedunderScheduleVIoftheConstitutionhas

legislativeandadministrativepower.Referenceto

variouslegislationframedbyAutonomousDistrict

CouncilwhichreceivedtheassentoftheGovernorhas

alsobeenreliedon.Para3ofScheduleVIenumerates

thepowerofDistrictCouncilandregionalcouncilto

makelawswhichwehaveextractedabove.

139.CertainlegislationframedbyDistrictCouncil

hasalsobeenreferrednamelytheKhasiHillsDistrict

(TradingbyNonTribals)Regulation,1954,theUnited

KhasiJaintiaHillsAutonomousDistrict(Managementand

ControlofForest)Rules,1960.TheKhasiHills

AutonomousDistrict(TradingbyNonTribals)Rules,
141

1959,allframedinexerciseofpowerunderpara3of

SixthSchedule.Thepowertomakelawentrustedto

AutonomousDistrictCouncilunderpara3ofSchedule

VIispowertomakelawreferabletoList2andList3

oftheSeventhSchedule.Wehavealreadynoticedabove

thatwithregardtoregulationanddevelopmentof

mineral,theUnionhasmadedeclarationbySection2

of1957ActandthepoweroftheStateLegislatureis

denudedinthatrespect.Thelogicalcorollaryofthe

aboveprincipleisthatpowerofAutonomousDistrict

Councilshallalsobedenudedinsofarasregulation

anddevelopmentofmineralstotheextentwhichis

coveredby1957Act.WemayrefertooneRule4of

UnitedKhasiJaintiaHillsDistrict(Tradingbynon

Tribals)Rules,1959,whichcontemplatesformoflicence

andoneofthelicencereferredtoisunderRule4is

licenceinFormE.Rule4isasfollows:

"4.FormofLicense.-

....

(5)Licenseinform'E'shallbeissuedfor
theminingofmineralsandthesaleor
purchaseofmineralsaccruingfromthe
autonomousdistrictandfortheimportof
mineralsintotheautonomousdistrictfor
salethereinasspecifiedinPart'E'ofthe
142

FirstScheduleonpaymentofprescribed
licensefeesubjecttotheconditions
specifiedinthelicense..

....”

140.ItisrelevanttonoticethattheUnitedKhasi

JaintiaHillsDistrict(TradingbyNon-Tribal)Rules,

1959hasbeenrepealedinsofarasJaintiaHills

DistrictsareconcernedbytheJaintiaHillsAutonomous

District(TradingbyNon-Tribal)RegulationAct,2011,

Section18.Rules,1959isstillinforceinKhasi

HillsAutonomousDistricts,since,nootherregulations

havebeenplacedbeforeusrepealingtheRules,1959.

InRegulations,2011,oneaspectneedstobenotedin

Section2,whichisdefinitionclause.Byclause

(viii),“trade”hasbeendefined,whichistothe

followingeffect:-

“(viii)"Trade"meansanytradeinvolving
buyingandsellingorbusinessforprofitand
includesexchangeofgoodsorcommoditiesor
businessorimport,exportandtransportof
goods/commoditiesorentryofgoodsinto
marketforsaleortradeandbusinesssuchas
constructionworksorotherworkrenderedby
thecontractororhisagentanditalso
includespersonandpersonsengagedbysuch
contractororagentoranyotherprofession
orvocationsuchasbarber,cobbler,
tailoring,cattlerearing(whichinclude
piggery,goatary,poultry)milkanddairy
143

products,automobilesmakingorrepairing,
electrician,furnituremakers,pharmacist,
physician,transportandanyothersimilar
vocationorprofessionandtheterm"trade"
and"trading"shallbeconstruedaccordingly.”

141.Thegrantoflicensescontemplatedby

Regulationsareonlywithrespecttothe“trade”as

definedin2(viii).TheentireRegulationsdonot

refertoanykindoftradeinminingofcoalormining

operations.Thus,theRegulations,2011havenothing

todowiththeminingofcoal.

142.ConstitutionalprovisionsofScheduleVIare

alsorelevanttobenoticed.Paragraph9ofthe

ScheduleVIreferstoLicencesorleasesforthe

purposeofprospectingfor,orextractionof,minerals.

Para9isasfollows:-

“9.Licencesorleasesforthepurposeof
prospectingfor,orextractionof,minerals.

-

(1)Suchshareoftheroyaltiesaccruingeach
yearfromlicencesorleasesforthepurpose
ofprospectingfor,ortheextractionof,
mineralsgrantedby[theGovernmentofthe
State]inrespectofanyareawithinan
autonomousdistrictasmaybeagreedupon
between[theGovernmentoftheState]andthe
DistrictCourtofsuchdistrictshallbemade
overtothatDistrictCouncil.

144

(2)Ifanydisputearisesastotheshareof
suchroyaltiestobemadeovertoaDistrict
Council,itshallbereferredtotheGovernor
fordeterminationandtheamountdetermined
bytheGovernorinhisdiscretionshallbe
deemedtobetheamountpayableundersub-
paragraph(1)ofthisparagraphtothe
DistrictCouncilandthedecisionofthe
Governorshallbefinal.”

143.Para9(1)confinestothelicencesorleasesof

mineralsgrantedbygovernmentoftheState.Schedule

VIwhichconstitutetheDistrictCouncilsandRegional

Councilsenumeratestheirpowers.Para9refersto

licencesorleasesforextractionofmineralsgranted

bytheGovernmentoftheState.Para9onlydealswith

shareoftheroyaltiestoDistrictCouncilsasagreed

uponbetweentheGovernmentoftheStateandthe

DistrictCouncils.Furtherparagraph12(A)(a)itself

contemplatesthatanylawmadebyDistrictCouncilor

RegionalCouncilwhichisrepugnanttoanylawofthe

Stateshallbevoid.Thus,thestatusoflawmadeby

DistrictCouncilorRegionalcouncilshastogiveway

tothelawmadebytheState.Therecanbenodoubt

thatDistrictCouncilandRegionalCouncilcannotmake
145

anylawwhichmayberepugnanttotheprovisionsofthe

SectionParliamentaryAct.

144.We,thus,areoftheviewthatDistrictCouncil

doesnothaveanypowertomakeanylawwithregardto

grantofmininglease.Theminingleasesforwinning

themajormineralshastobegrantedinaccordancewith

1957ActandMineralConcessionRules,1960.

POINTNOS.78

145.ThisCourtinStateofTamilNaduversusM/s

HindStoneandothers,1981(2)SCC205,speaking

throughChinnappaReddy,J.,hasmadefollowingweighty

observations:-

“6.Rivers,Forests,Mineralsandsuchother
resourcesconstituteaNation'snatural
wealth.Theseresourcesarenottobe
fritteredawayandexhaustedbyanyone
generation.Everygenerationowesadutyto
allsucceedinggenerationstodevelopand
conservethenaturalresourcesofthenation
inthebestpossibleway.Itisinthe
interestofmankind.Itisintheinterest
ofthenation.Itisrecognisedby
Parliament.Parliamenthasdeclaredthatit
isexpedientinthepublicinterestthatthe
Unionshouldtakeunderitscontrolthe
regulationofminesandthedevelopmentof
minerals.IthasenactedtheMinesand
Minerals(RegulationandSectionDevelopment)Act,
1957.....”
146

146.Noonecandisputetheunderlyingobjectinthe

aboveobservationsofthisCourt.Theuseofnatural

resourcesalsoplaysmajorroleincarryingout

development.Afinebalancehastobemaintainedin

utilisationofnaturalresourcesanditsconservation

andpreservation.Onecannotbesacrificedforthe

interestofother.TheconceptofSustainable

Developmenthasbeenevolvedandisbeingpursued.In

thiscontext,referencebemadetothethree-Judge

BenchjudgmentofthisCourtinLafargeUmiamMining

(pvt.)Ltd.VersusUnionofIndiaOthers,2011(7)SCC

338.Inpara75,followinglegalpositionwasnoticed:

-

“75.Universalhumandependenceontheuse
ofenvironmentalresourcesforthemostbasic
needsrendersitimpossibletorefrainfrom
alteringtheenvironment.Asaresult,
environmentalconflictsareineradicableand
environmentalprotectionisalwaysamatter
ofdegree,inescapablyrequiringchoicesas
totheappropriatelevelofenvironmental
protectionandtheriskswhicharetobe
regulated.Thisaspectisrecognisedbythe
conceptsof“sustainabledevelopment”.Itis
equallywellsettledbythedecisionofthis
CourtinNarmadaBachaoAndolanVs.Unionof
Indiathatenvironmenthasdifferentfacets
andcareoftheenvironmentisanongoing
process.Theseconceptsruleoutthe
formulationofanacross-the-boardprinciple
147

asitwoulddependonthefactsofeachcase
whetherdiversioninagivencaseshouldbe
permittedornot,barring“nogo”areas
(whoseidentificationwouldagaindependon
undertakingofduediligenceexercise).In
suchcases,themarginofappreciation
doctrinewouldapply.”

147.NowwecomebacktotheorderofNGTdated

17.04.2014bywhichTribunalprohibitedtheRathole

mining/illegalminingthroughouttheStateof

Meghalaya.WehavenoticedabovethatinOANo.73of

2014whereintheaboveorderwaspassed,sufficient

materialswerebroughtontherecordincludingexperts

reportwhichprovedthatillegalcoalmininginthe

StateofMeghalayaisdegradingtheenvironment.The

CourtalsonoticedthereportofProfessorDr.O.P.Singh

whichnoticedthattheMeghalayaPollutionControl

Boardintheyear1997hassubmittedthereportabout

theenvironmentalpollutionconsequenttoillegal

mining.

148.LearnedAmicusCuriaehasinvitedourattention

toreportofComptrollerandAuditorGeneralforthe

yearending31stMarch,2013,wheretheComptrollerand

AuditorGeneralhasnoticedthatduetoAcidMine

DrainageseverallocationsofLukhaRiverwere
148

severallypolluted.Thereportalsoreferredto

investigationbytheMeghalayaStatePollutionControl

BoardinNovember2011andnoticedthatnoeffective

stepsweretakentocontrolAMD.Paragraph7.5.23.1of

thereportisasfollows:-

“7.5.23.1PollutionofriversduetoAcid
MineDrainagefromcoalmines

Basedonmediareportsrelatingto
pollutionofLukhariverinJaintiaHills,
theMeghalayaStatePollutionBoard(MSPCB)
conducted(November2011)aninvestigation
toascertainthewaterqualityoftheLukha
RiveranditsfeedingstreamsinJaintia
HillsDistrictvis-a-visasimilar
investigationcarriedoutinFebruary2007.
Forthispurpose,eightwaterandsediment
sampleswerecollectedfromthesamesampling
locationsinvestigatedduring2007.The
findingsareasfollows:-

Table1.6
StationpHIron(mg/I)Sulphate(mg/I)
BISnormsBISnorms:0.3BIS
6.5-8.5norms:200.0
200720112007201120072011
St.13.02.73.66.2254.0566.5
St.27.55.00.135.413.4305.0
St.36.87.30.170.462.08.69
St.44.54.30.464.8211.8265.0
St.56.35.00.321.2188.8200.0
St.64.36.20.3720.26192.1118.2
St.77.98.21.350.1899.029.04
St.87.88.10.30.28101.545.6
149

Thewaterqualitycharacteristicsinterms
ofpH,SulphateandIronconcentrationswith
respecttoStations1,2,4and5indicated
thatthereissignificantdeteriorationof
waterqualityincomparisontothatofthe
year2007themajorcauseofwhichwasthe
AMDfromcoalminingintheseareas.

TheinvestigationmadebytheMSPCBfurther
revealedthattheriverwaterontheentire
stretchofthesamplinglocationswasnot
suitablefordrinkingpurpose......”

149.Tribunalbeingsatisfiedfromthematerialson

recordhasissuedtheorderdated17.04.2014which

cannotbefaultedinthefactsandmaterialswhichare

onrecordinthepresentcase.Onemorefactinthe

abovecontextneedtobenoticedi.e.aftertheorder

dated17.04.2014,severalapplicantsincludingthe

appellantsofCivilAppealNo.5272of2016filed

applicationforvacatingthebanwhichwasnotacceded

tobytheTribunal.SubsequentlytheNGTpermitted

transportationofcoaltill15.05.2016anddirected

thatafter15.05.2016,allcoalwithintheStateof

MeghalayashallvestintheState.

150.Thetribunalafterconsideringallpleasand

materialsincludingreportssubmittedbythecommittees

affirmedtheorderdated17.04.2014andrefusedto
150

withdrawtheban.Wedonotfindanyerrorintheorder

ofNGTreaffirmingitsbanorderinthefactsofthe

presentcase.Butthequestionwhichhasbeenraised

bytheappellantbeforethisCourtisthatwhetherthe

completebanasimposedbytheNGTdeservestobe

vacatedormodifiedintheinterestoftheStateand

tribals.TherevenueearnedbytheStatefromcoal

miningplayssubstantialpartintheeconomyofthe

State.Itisalsoamplydemonstratedfromtherecord

thattribalsaretheownersofthelandwhocarryon

miningofcoalintheirlandbywhichtheyearntheir

substantiallivelihood.

151.Thoughasdiscussedabovethemannerinwhich

theminingisbeingcarriedoutbythetribalscannot

beapprovedwhichisclearlyinviolationofstatutory

regimeunder1957Actand1960Rulesbutineventthe

miningiscarriedoutbytribalsortheirassigneesas

pertheprovisionsof1957Actand1960Rules,there

canbenoobjectionsincarryingsuchminingunderthe

regulationandcontrolofStateofMeghalaya.Wethus

clarifythatineventminingoperationsareundertaken
151

bythetribalsorotherownersofhillsdistrictsof

Meghalayainaccordancewithminingleaseobtainedfrom

theStateofMeghalayaasper1957ActandMineral

ConcessionsRule,1960,thebanorderdated17.04.2014

ofthetribunalshallnotcomeinitswayofcarrying

miningoperations.Thebanorderisfortheillegal

coalminingwhichwasrampantintheStateofMeghalaya

andthebanordercannotbeextendedtovalidandlegal

miningasper1957Actand1960Rules.

PointNos.9and10

152.TheappellantscontendthattheNGThasno

jurisdictiontoconstituteanycommittee.TheNGTvide

itsdifferentordershasconstituteddifferent

committeesforsubmittingreportsfordifferent

purposes.TheConstitutionofwhichcommitteesare

soughttobechallengedonthegroundthattheNGThas

nojurisdictiontoconstituteacommittee.Similarly,

orderoftheTribunaldirectingforconstitutinga

fund,namely,MeghalayaEnvironmentProtectionand

RestorationFundhasbeenchallengedonthegroundthat
152

theTribunalhasnojurisdictiontoconstituteany

fund.

153.Whatarethepowersandjurisdictionofthe

TribunalgivenundertheSectionNationalGreenTribunalAct,

2010hastobelookedintotoconsidertheabove

submission?InsofarasjurisdictionoftheTribunal

isconcerned,wehavealreadynoticedSections14,Section15,

andSection16oftheAct.Section19oftheActdealswith

procedureandpowersoftheoftheTribunal.Section

19whichisrelevantforthepresentcaseisasfollows:

“19.ProcedureandpowersofTribunal.–
(1).TheTribunalshallnotbeboundbythe
procedurelaiddownbytheCodeofCivil
Procedure,1908butshallbeguidedbythe
principlesofnaturaljustice.
(2).SubjecttotheprovisionsofthisAct,
theTribunalshallhavepowertoregulateits
ownprocedure.

(3).TheTribunalshallalsonotbebound
bytherulesofevidencecontainedinthe
SectionIndianEvidenceAct,1872.

(4).TheTribunalshallhave,forthe
purposesofdischargingitsfunctionsunder
thisAct,thesamepowersasarevestedina
civilcourtundertheCodeofCivil
Procedure,1908,whiletryingasuit,in
respectofthefollowingmatters,namely:-

(a)summoningandenforcingthe
attendanceofanypersonandexamining
himonoath;

153

(b)requiringthediscoveryand
productionofdocuments;

(c)receivingevidenceonaffidavits;

(d)subjecttotheprovisionsof
Sectionsections123andSection124oftheIndian
EvidenceAct,1872,requisitioningany
publicrecordordocumentorcopyof
suchrecordordocumentfromany
office;

(e)issuingcommissionsforthe
examinationofwitnessesordocuments;

(f)reviewingitsdecision;

(g)dismissinganapplicationfor
defaultordecidingitexparte;

(h)settingasideanyorderof
dismissalofanyapplicationfor
defaultoranyorderpassedbyitex
parte;

(i)passaninterimorder(including
grantinganinjunctionorstay)after
providingthepartiesconcernedan
opportunitytobeheard,onany
applicationmadeorappealfiledunder
thisAct;

(j)passanorderrequiringanyperson
toceaseanddesistfromcommittingor
causinganyviolationofanyenactment
specifiedinScheduleI;

(k)anyothermatterwhichmaybe
prescribed.

5.AllproceedingsbeforetheTribunal
shallbedeemedtobethejudicial
proceedingswithinthemeaningofSectionsections
193,Section219andSection228forthepurposesofSectionsection
196oftheIndianPenalCodeandtheTribunal
shallbedeemedtobeacivilcourtforthe
154

purposesofSectionsection195andChapterXXVIof
theCodeofCriminalProcedure,1973.”

154.Sub-section(1)ofSection19providesthat

Tribunalshallnotbeboundbytheprocedurelaiddown

bySectiontheCodeofCivilProcedurebutshallbeguidedby

theprinciplesofnaturaljustice.Whatsub-section(1)

meanttoconveyisthatTribunalisnotshackledwith

theprocedurelaiddownbytheCPCforconductingits

proceedings.Sub-section(2)ofSection19empowersthe

Tribunal,powerstoregulateitsownprocedure.Section

19(2)confersvidepowersontheTribunalinsofaras

itsprocedureisconcerned.Section19(4)vestssome

powersasarevestedincivilcourt,whiletryinga

suit,inrespectofmattersenumeratedtherein.Theuse

ofexpression“shallnotbeboundbytheprocedurelaid

downbytheCPC”isnotakintosayingthatprocedure

aslaiddownbytheCPCisinnomannerrelevanttothe

Tribunal.Further,Section19(1)alsodoesnotmean

thatTribunalcannotfollowanyproceduregiveninthe

CPC.OneprovisionofCPCinsertedbyAct104of1976

witheffectfrom01.02.1977isOrderXXVI,whichis
155

relevantforpresentinquiry.OrderXXVIRule10A

providesasfollows:

“OrderXXVIRule10A.Commissionfor
scientificinvestigations"-(1)Whereany
questionarisinginasuitinvolvesany
scientificinvestigationwhichcannot,inthe
opinionoftheCourt,beconveniently
conductedbeforetheCourt,theCourtmay,
ifitthinksitnecessaryorexpedientinthe
interestsofjusticesotodo,issuea
commissiontosuchpersonasitthinksfit,
directinghimtoinquireintosuchquestion
andreportthereontotheCourt.

(2)Theprovisionsofrule10ofthisOrder
shall,asfarasmaybe,applyinrelation
toaCommissionerappointedunderthisrule
astheyapplyinrelationtoaCommissioner
appointedunderrule9.”

155.Rule10Aprovidesthatwhereanyquestion

arisinginasuitinvolvesanyscientificinvestigation

whichcannot,intheopinionoftheCourt,be

convenientlyconductedbeforetheCourt,theCourtmay,

ifitthinksnecessaryorexpedientintheinterests

ofjusticesotodo,issueacommissiontosuchperson

asitthinksfit,directinghimtoinquireintosuch

questionandreportthereontotheCourt.Rule10Ais

enablingpowertothecourtstoobtainreportfromsuch

personsasitthinksfitwhenanyquestioninvolves
156

withthescientificinvestigation.Thepowersunder

Rule10AwhicharetobeexercisedbytheCourtcan

verywellbeusedbytheNGTtoobtainreportsby

experts.TheNGTasperthestatutoryschemeoftheNGT

hastodecideseveralcomplexquestionspertainingto

pollutionandenvironment.Thescientific

investigationandreportbyexpertsarenecessary

requirementinappropriatecasestocometocorrect

conclusiontofindoutmeasurestoremedythepollution

andenvironment.Wedonot,thus,findanydearthof

jurisdictionintheNGTtoappointacommitteeto

submitareport.Wemayfurthersaythatwhileasking

experttogiveareporttheNGTisnotconfinedtothe

fourcornersofRule10Aratheritsjurisdictionisnot

shackledbystricttermsofOrder26Rule10Asper

Section19(1)asnoticedabove.

156.Thereisonemoreprovisionwhichthrows

considerablelightontheabove.UnderSection35of

theNGTAct,2010CentralGovernmentisempoweredto

makeruleforcarryingouttheprovisionsoftheAct.

Ruleshavebeenframedinexerciseofpowersunder

Section35,namely,NationalGreenTribunal(Practice
157

andProcedure)Rules,2011.ThesaidRuleshavebeen

framedinexerciseofpowersunderSection4(4)aswell

asSection35.TheRules,2011areRulesalsofor

practicesandprocedureoftheTribunal.Rule24which

isrelevantforthepresentcaseisasfollows:

“Section24.Orderanddirectionsincertain
cases.-TheTribunalmaymakesuchordersor
givesuchdirectionsasmaybenecessaryor
expedienttogiveeffecttoitsorderorto
preventabuseofitsprocessortosecurethe
endsofjustice.”

157.Rule24empowerstheTribunaltomakesuch

ordersorgivesuchdirectionsasmaybenecessaryor

expedienttogiveeffecttoitsorderortosecurethe

endsofjustice.Rule24givesvidepowerstothe

Tribunaltosecuretheendsofjustice.Rule24vests

specialpowertoTribunaltopassordersandissue

directionstosecureendsofjustice.Useofwords

‘may’,‘suchorders’,‘givessuchdirections’,‘asmay

benecessaryorexpedient’,‘togiveeffecttoits

orders’,‘ordertopreventabuseofprocess’,arewords

whichenabletheTribunaltopassordersandtheabove

wordsconfervidediscretion.

158

158.ProfessorJusticeG.P.Singh,inPrinciplesof

StatutoryInterpretation,14thEditionwhiledealing

withenablingwordsays:

“Ordinarily,thewords‘May’and‘Itshall
belawful’arenotwordsofcompulsion.They
areenablingwordsandtheyonlyconfer
capacity,powerorauthorityandimply
discretion.“Theyarebothusedinastatute
toindicatethatsomethingmaybedonewhich
priortoitcouldnotbedone”.Theuseof
words‘Shallhavepower”alsoconnotesthe
sameidea.”

159.TheenablingpowersgivetotheTribunalunder

Rule24isforpurposeandobjecttodecidethesubjects

whicharetobeexamined,decidedandanappropriate

reliefistobegrantedbytheTribunal.Further,

subjectscontainviderangeofsubjectswhichrequire

technicalandscientificinputs.TheTribunalcanpass

suchordersasitmaythinkfitnecessaryorexpedient

tosecureendsofjustice.

160.Theobjectforwhichsaidpowerisgivenisnot

fartoseek.TofulfilobjectiveoftheNGTAct,2010.

NGThastoexerciseawiderangeofjurisdictionand

hastopossessviderangeofpowerstodojusticeina

givencase.Thepowerisgiventoexerciseforthe
159

benefitofthosewhohaverightforcleanenvironment

whichrighttheyhavetoestablishbeforetheTribunal.

ThepowergiventotheTribunaliscoupledwithduty

toexercisesuchpowersforachievingtheobjects.In

thisregardreferenceismadetojudgmentofthisCourt

inSectionL.HirdayNarainvs.IncomeTaxOfficer,Bareilly,

1970(2)SCC355,wherethisCourtwasexamining

provisionempoweringauthoritytodosomething.This

Courtlaiddowninparagraph14:

“14.TheHighCourtobservedthatunder
Section35oftheIndianIncomeTax.Act,
1922,thejurisdictionoftheIncomeTax
Officerisdiscretionary.Iftherebyitis
intendedthattheIncomeTaxOfficerhas
discretiontoexerciseornottoexercisethe
powertorectify,thatviewisinour
judgmenterroneous.Section35enactsthat
theCommissionerorAppellateAssistant
CommissionerortheIncomeTaxOfficermay
rectifyanymistakeapparentfromtherecord.
Ifastatuteinvestsapublicofficerwith
authoritytodoanactinaspecifiedsetof
circumstances,itisimperativeuponhimto
exercisehisauthorityinamanner
appropriatetothecasewhenaparty
interestedandhavingarighttoapplymoves
inthatbehalfandcircumstancesforexercise
ofauthorityareshowntoexist.Evenifthe
wordsusedinthestatuteareprimafacie
enablingtheCourtswillreadilyinferaduty
toexercisepowerwhichisinvestedinaid
ofenforcementofaright—publicorprivate
—ofacitizen.”
160

161.We,thus,areoftheconsideredopinionthat

thereisnolackofjurisdictionintheNGTtodirect

forappointmentofcommitteeortoobtainareportfrom

acommitteeingivenfactsofthecase.

162.NowcomingtothechallengetotheFundwhich

hasbeenconstitutedbytheTribunal,namely,

“MeghalayaEnvironmentProtectionandRestoration

Fund”,itisusefultonoticetheobservationofthe

TribunalinitsorderdatedMarch25,2015bywhichthe

saidFundwascreated.Thereasonsforconstitutionof

Fundareself-explanatorywhicharetothefollowing

effect:

“Itisalsoundisputablethattherehasbeen
hugeenvironmentaldegradationandpollution
ofthewaterbodyintheStateofMeghalaya,
becauseofthisillegal,unscientificmining.
Noonehaseventhoughtofrestorationofthe
areainquestion,tobringtosome16extent,
ifnotcompletely,restorationofecologyand
environmentinquestion.Seriousstepsare
requiredtobetakenforcleaningpolluted
waterbodiesandensurethatnofurther
pollutioniscausedbythisactivityandthe
activitywhichwouldbepermittedtobe
carriedonfinallyincludingtransportation
ofcoal.Onthebasisof`PolluterPay
Principle’.WedirectthattheState
Governmentshallinadditiontotheroyalty
payabletoit,shallalsocollect10%onthe
marketvalueofthecoalforevery
consignment.HavingheardthelearnedCounsel
161

appearingforthepartiesandkeepinginview
thenotificationsoftheCentralGovernment
dated10.05.2012andthatoftheState
Governmentdated22.06.2012,wemaynotice
thatinthereportofComptrollerandAuditor
GeneralofIndiafortheperiodending31st
March,2013under7.5.18ofChapter7of
whichtheinvoicevalueofthecoalhasbeen
takenRs.4850/-permetrictonne.Thus,we
directthattheStateGovernmentshallin
additiontotheroyaltypayabletoit,also
collect10%ofthesaidmarketvalueofthe
coalpermetrictonnefromeachperson.The
amountsocollectedshallbedepositedinthe
accounttobetitledas‘Meghalaya
EnvironmentProtectionandRestorationFund’
tobemaintainedbytheStateunderthe
directcontroloftheChiefSecretaryofthe
StateofMeghalaya.

Thisamountshallonlybeusedfor
restorationofenvironmentandfornecessary
remedialandpreventivemeasuresinregard
toenvironmentandmattersrelatedthereto”

163.AsnoticedabovetheNGTcouldhavepassedany

orderordirectiontosecureendsofjusticewhich

powerespeciallyconferredbyRule24asnoticedabove,

directiontoconstituteFundisthusalsosavedunder

suchpower.

PointNo.11

164.Inrespectofconstitutionofcommitteebythe

Tribunaltherearetwootherlimbsofsubmission;that,
162

(1)NGTbyconstitutingcommitteeshasdelegated

essentialjudicialpowertothecommittee;(2)the

Constitutionofcommitteesencroachesthe

constitutionalschemeofadministrationofTribalareas

underSectionArticle244(2)readwithSixthScheduleofthe

Constitution.

165.TheTribunalvideitsvariousdirectionshas

askedforreportsfromStateofficialsandthe

committees.ThevariousinstanceswheretheNGT

directedforreportorinvestigationandsubmissionof

reportbycommitteeswerewiththeobjectofensuring

theimplementationoftheorderspassedbyitandto

decidetheenvironmentalissuesraisedbeforeit.In

nomannerconstitutionofcommitteecanbesaidtobe

delegationofessentialjudicialpowersoftheNGTto

thecommittee.

166.Now,wecometotheKatakeycommitteewhichwas

constitutedbytheTribunalon31.08.2018.In

paragraphs14and15,theTribunalwhiledirectingfor

constitutionofcommitteeheadedbyJusticeB.P.

Katakeydirected:

“14.Onlylastquestionwhichremainsisof
restorationoftheenvironmentand
163

rehabilitationofthevictimsforwhichfunds
areavailable.Weareoftheviewthatfor
thistask,itwillappropriatethatwe
constituteanindependentCommittee.This
CommitteewillbeheadedbyJusticeB.P.
Katoki,FormerJudgeoftheGuwahati8Item
Nos.06to10August31,2018RHighCourt
withrepresentativesfromCentralPollution
ControlBoardandIndianSchoolofMines,
Dhanbad.

15.TheCommitteewilltakethefollowing
steps:

•Takestockofallactionstakensofarin
thisregard.

•Preparetimeboundactionplantodealwith
theissueandensureitsimplementation.”

167.TheConstitutionofthecommitteeandits

functionsentrustedwerewiththeobjecttoimplement

theorderspassedbytheTribunal.TheTribunalhas

alreadydirectedforpreparingaschemeforthe

restorationoftheenvironmentandecology.The

environmentandecologyrestorationplanwassubmitted

beforetheTribunalalongwiththeaffidavitdated

03.10.2017ashasbeennoticedintheorderdated

02.01.2018oftheNGT.IntheconstitutionofKatakey

committee,thus,itcannotbesaidthatessential

judicialfunctionsweredelegatedtothecommitteeby

theTribunal.FortherestorationofenvironmentNGT
164

videitsorderdated31.08.2018hasdirectedthe

committeetosubmititsactionplanandreportsbye-

mail.TheTribunal,thus,hadkeptcompletecontrolon

allstepswhichwererequiredtobetakenbythe

committeeandissueddirectionsfromtimetotime.We,

thus,donotacceptthesubmissionoftheappellant

thattheessentialjudicialpowersoftheNGThadbeen

delegatedtothecommittee.Lookingtotheenormous

workofrestorationofenvironmentwhichhastobe

supervisedonthespotthecommitteewasconstituted.

We,however,observethattheStateisalwaysat

libertytoobtainparticulardirectionifaggrievedby

anyactofthecommittee.Thematterbeingpending

beforetheTribunalofactsofthecommitteeareunder

directcontroloftheTribunalandifthecommittee

overstepsinanydirectionthesamecanverywellbe

correctedbytheTribunalonthematterbeingbrought

beforeit.

168.Now,wecometothesecondlimb,thatthe

constitutionofthecommitteeencroachesthe

constitutionalschemeoftheTribalareas.Werevert

backtotheSixthScheduleoftheConstitution.Para3
165

oftheSixthScheduleenumeratesthepowersofthe

DistrictCouncilandRegionalCounciltomakelaws.

ThepowersoftheDistrictandRegionalCouncilsare

enumeratedunderparagraph3.Inthedirectionsofthe

Tribunaltoconstitutecommitteefortransportationof

extractedmineralsorforpreparingtimeboundaction

todealwiththerestorationofenvironmentandto

ensureitsimplementation,thereisnointerferencein

thepowersoftheDistrictorRegionalCouncils.Action

planforrestorationofenvironmentisconsequenceof

Tribunalfindingoutthatanunregulatedcoalmining

hasdamagedenvironmentandhascausedthepollution

includingwaterpollution.Itisnotcaseofthe

appellantthatDistrictandRegionalCouncilshave

framedanylawforrestorationofenvironmentwhichis

beingbreachedbythecommitteeoritsacts.The

DistrictandRegionalCouncilsarefreetoexerciseall

theirpowersandthecommitteeconstitutedbythe

TribunalisonlyconcernedwiththeEnvironmental

degradationandillegalcoalmining.Thecommittees’

reportordirectionoftheTribunalinnomanner
166

encroachesupontheadministrationofTribalareasby

theDistrictandRegionalCouncils.

PointNo.12

169.TheNGTvideitsorderdated04.01.2019

directedtheStateofMeghalayatodepositanamount

ofRs.100CroreswiththeCentralPollutionControl

Board,whichwastobespentforrestorationof

environment.TheStateofMeghalayaaggrievedbyabove

directionhasfiledCivilAppealNo.2968of2019.We

havealreadynoticedthesubmissionofShriAmrendra

Sharan,SeniorAdvocate.

170.ShriColinGonsalves,learnedAmicusCuriaehas

refutedthesubmissionsmadebythelearnedcounselfor

theappellant.Itissubmittedthatdespitethe

specificbanoncoalminingbyorderdated17.04.2014

intheentireState,illegalcoalmininghadbeengoing

on,whichwasprovedfromthereportsandpictures

referredtointhereport.TheStateisresponsible

andconstitutionallyobligatedtoprovideclean

environmenttoeverycitizen.Theyhavingentirely

failedtostoptheillegalmining,whichiscauseof

degradationofpollutionincludingpollutionofriver
167

streams,theTribunalhasrightlydirectedtheState

ofMeghalayatodepositRs.100Crores.ShriGonsalves

submitsthatinspiteofStatePollutionControlBoard

aswellasComptrollerAuditorGeneralhavinginvited

theattentionoftheStateofMeghalayatowardsserious

pollutionespeciallyintheriverwater,nostepswere

takenbytheStateofMeghalaya.Itisfurther

submittedthatrestorationofenvironmentrequires

carryingoutvariousprojectsandunlesstheState

providesfornecessaryfundandfinances,the

restorationofdamagedenvironmentcannotbe

undertaken.ItisfurthersubmittedthatStatehad

collectedhugefundRs.4,33,07,26,731/-,whichamount

hadnotbeenspentbytheState,although,itwas

requiredtotakestepsforrestorationofenvironment.

171.TheNGTvideitsorderdated31.08.2018

constitutedacommitteeheadedbyJusticeB.P.Katakey,

FormerJudgeofGauhatiHighCourtwithrepresentatives

fromCentralPollutionControlBoardandIndianSchool

ofMines,Dhanbad.Bysubsequentorderdated

19.09.2018issuedbytheTribunal,additionalChief
168

SecretarytoGovernmentofMeghalayawasmadethe

MemberSecretary/Coordinatorforproperfunctioningof

thecommittee.Thecommitteevisiteddifferentsites,

heldvariousmeetings,variouspresentationswerealso

madebeforethecommitteebyMeghalayaStatePollution

ControlBoardandotherbodiesnamelyNorthEastern

CentreforTechnologyApplicationandReach,North

EasternSpaceApplicationCentre.InPara12(g),

followinghasbeenstatedbythecommittee:-

“12(g)Presentationwasalsomadebythe
MeghalayaStatePollutionControlBoardon
thecoalmineactivitiesanditsimpacton
thelandused,waterquality,airquality,
ecologyaswellassocio-economicimpact.The
Committee,onthebasisofthesaid
presentation,foundthefollowing:-

(i)Continuationofcoalmineactivities
foralongtimeinanunplannedand
unscientificmanneraswellaswithout
anypollutioncontrolmeasures.

(ii)Suchminingactivitiesaregenerating
hugeecologicaldisturbancesand
negativeenvironmentalimpacts.

(iii)Waterinriversandstreamsinthe
miningareashavebecomehighlyacidic
innaturewithpHvalueof2.7since
1991-92duetopresenceofhigh
percentageofsulphurincoal,which
reactsaftermixingwithoxygeninair
andwatergivingrisetoAMDproblem.

169

NodifferenceofpHlevelofwaterin
rivers,streamsandminedrainshave
beennoticedduringmonsoon.

(iv)pHlevelofwaterinsprings,taps
waterandhandpumpsalsofoundtobe
lessthanpermissiblelimitof
drinkingwaterstandards.

(v)Absenceofbiologicallifeinthe
waterbodies.

(vi)Ambientairqualityofthecoalmining
areasandcoalstorageareasexceeds
theNationalAmbientAirQuality
Standardsonfewoccasions.

(vii)Requirementofurgentstepstobe
takentogeneratesocialawareness
abouttheadverseenvironmental
impactsandthehealthhazards
associatedwithunplannedand
unscientificcoalminingactivities.

172.Actionplansforrestorationofenvironment

werealsodiscussedandfinalised.

173.OndetaileddiscussiononIssueNo.(A),

committeewithdetailsincludingphotographsandmaps

observedfollowing:-

“(vi)Fromtheaforesaidmaterialsavailable
beforetheCommittee,itis,therefore,
evidentthatthecoalminingactivities,
whichincludestheextractionofcoaland
transportation,isgoingonintheStateof
170

Meghalaya,atleastinEastJaintiaHills
District,wheresuchminingactivitiesare
most,despitethebanimposedbytheHon’ble
NGTvideitsorderdated17.04.2014.Very
sincereandhonesteffortsarerequiredon
thepartoftheStateGovernmenttostopthe
miningactivities,whicharegoingon.Such
miningactivitiesaregoingonwithout
adoptinganysafetymeasuresfortheworkers
andwithoutcaringforadverseenvironmental
affect.Asinceredesiretostopsuchillegal
miningactivitiesisalsonecessaryonthe
partoftheStateandCentralGovernment
agenciesforimplementationandmonitoringof
health,safetyandenvironmental
regulations.

(vii)Theresultofongoingun-abetted
illegalmining,despitethebanimposedby
theNGT,istheverytragicincidentoccurred
veryrecentlyon13.12.2018inacoalmine
inKsanVillagenearLyteinRiverunder
SaipungPoliceStationinEastJaintiaHills
District,where15(fifteen)coalmineworkers
arereportedtrapped,whiletheywereworking
inthemine.Unfortunately,noneofthemso
farcouldberescued.Forthesaidincident,
SaipungPoliceStationCaseNo.15(12)/2018
underSection188/Section304A/Section34IPCreadwith
Section3(2)(d)ofPDPPActandSection21(1)
ofMM(RD)Actagainstthecoalmineowner
hasbeenregistered.AMagisterialenquiry
tofindoutthefactsandcircumstances
leadingtothesaidincident,hasalsobeen
directed.”

174.Thefactthaton13.12.2018,15coalmine

workersweretrappedinanongoingcoalmining

operation,whoallhavebeenreportedtobedeaditself

provesbeyondanyshadeofdoubtthatorderdated
171

17.04.2014banningminingintheentireStateof

Meghalayawasneitherbeenenforcednorserious

endeavoursweretakenbytheStateoritsauthorities

tosavetheenvironmentalpollution.Withregardto

restorationoftheenvironmentandrestorationofthe

victims,actionplanswereformulatedbythecommittee.

175.ThefirstsubmissionraisedbyShriAmrendra

Sharanchallengingtheorderisviolationofprinciples

ofnaturaljustice.Thereportdated31.12.2018ofthe

committeeitselfinissueNo.f(iv)noticed:-

“Websitehasbeenopenedandallthe
proceedingsoftheCommitteeareuploadedin
thesaidwebsite.”

176.Thereportbeingplacedonwebsiteon

31.12.2018itself,thereisnoquestionofservingcopy

ofthereportofthecommitteetotheStakeholders.It

isfurtherrelevanttonoticethatAdditionalChief

SecretaryoftheGovernmentofMeghalayawashimself

theMemberSecretaryandCoordinatorofthecommittee

undertheordersoftheTribunaldated19.09.2018.All

proceedingsofthecommittee,itsmeetingsandminutes,

werewiththeknowledgeandparticipationofthe
172

coordinator/AdditionalChiefSecretaryoftheState

ofMeghalaya.

177.Aperusaloftheorderdated04.01.2019,which

isimpugnedintheappealindicatesthatalthough

learnedcounselfortheStateofMeghalayawaspresent

andwasheardbutnokindofobjectionwasraised

regardingacceptabilityofthereport.Thereport

obtainedbytheNGTthroughthecommitteewastotake

effectivestepstowardsprotectionofenvironmental

pollutionandforrestorationofdamagedenvironment.

Pollutionofthevariousriversandstreamsandsteps

fortreatingtheacidicwaterwasurgentlyrequired.

Severalpresentationsbeforethecommitteewerealso

madeanddifferentstepsregardingrestorationof

environmentweretobetakenasnoticedandindicated

inthereportofthecommittee.Asnoticedabove,the

NGTvideitsorderdated25.03.2015constitutedafund

namely‘MeghalayaEnvironmentProtectionand

RestorationFund’tobemaintainedbytheStateunder

thedirectcontroloftheChiefSecretaryoftheState

ofMeghalaya.Itisreiteratedinthereportofthe
173

committeethatanamountofRs.433Croresisalready

lyinginthesaidfund,whichhasnotbeenspent.

178.Learnedcounselfortheappellanthaslaidmuch

emphasisthattherehadbeennocalculationofthe

extentofdamagenorTribunalcouldhavearrivedaton

theamountofdamagestotheextentofRs.100Crores,

whichwasdirectedtobedepositedbytheStateof

MeghalayawiththeCentralPollutionControlBoard.

179.Weareoftheviewthattheamount,whichhas

beendirectedbyNGTtobedepositedbyStateof

Meghalayaisneitherapenaltynorafineimposedon

theState.Theamounthasbeendirectedtobedeposited

forcarryingoutstepsregardingrestorationof

environment.Wefurtheragreewiththesubmissionof

thelearnedcounselfortheappellantthatthesaid

amountcannotbesaidtobeamountofdamagestobe

paidbytheState.Wefurtherfindforceinthe

submissionofthelearnedcounselfortheappellant

thatStateofMeghalayahasverylimitedsourceof

revenueandputtinganextraburdenontheStateof

MeghalayatomakepaymentofRs.100Croresfromitsown
174

financialresourcesandbudgetaryamountmaycause

greathardshiptotheStateofMeghalaya.Endsof

justicebeservedinmodifyingthedirectionofNGT

dated04.01.2019totheextentthatStateispermitted

totransferanamountofRs.100Croresfromtheamount

lyingintheMEPRFtotheCentralPollutionControl

Board.TheCentralPollutionControlBoardasdirected

bytheTribunal(NGT)shallutilisetheaforesaid

amountofRs.100Croresonlyforrestorationofthe

environment.Theappealisthus,partlyallowedtothe

aboveextent.

PointNo.13

180.Videorderdated31.03.2016,theNGThad

permittedtransportationofcoaltill15.5.2016under

termsandconditionsasenumeratedtherein.Theorder

dated31.3.2016furthercontemplatedthatnocoalin

anyformwhatsoevershallbepermittedtobe

transportedafter15.05.2016onwhichdatetheentire

remainingcoalshallvestintheStateGovernmentand

shallbedisposedofinaccordancewithlaw.
175

181.ThemaingrievanceoftheappellantisthatNGT

couldnothavedirectedforvestingofcoalinthe

State.Thesubmissionisthatmembersoftheappellant-

associationhaveproprietaryrightsinthecoalwith

whichtheycouldnotbedivestedbytheTribunal.We

havealreadyheldthatprivateownersofthelandare

alsoownersofthemineralsandthemineralsbelongto

theowners/Tribals.Wehavealsofoundthatcoalmining

wasillegallygoingonunregulatedbyanystatutorylaw

intheHillsDistrictofStateofMeghalayawithout

therebeinganymininglease.Theentireminingwas,

thus,isclearincontraventionofSection4(1)ofAct,

1957whichattractedpenaltiesunderSection21.

Section21oftheActisasfollows:

“21.Penalties.―(1)Whoevercontravenesthe
provisionsofsub-section(1)orsub-section
(1A)ofSectionsection4shallbepunishablewith
imprisonmentforatermwhichmayextendto
fiveyearsandwithfinewhichmayextendto
fivelakhrupeesperhectareofthearea.

(2)Anyrulemadeunderanyprovisionofthis
Actmayprovidethatanycontravention
thereofshallbepunishablewithimprisonment
foratermwhichmayextendtotwoyearsor
withfinewhichmayextendtofivelakh
rupees,orwithboth,andinthecaseofa
continuingcontravention,withadditional
finewhichmayextendtofiftythousand
rupeesforeverydayduringwhichsuch
176

contraventioncontinuesafterconvictionfor
thefirstsuchcontravention.

(3)Whereanypersontrespassesintoanyland
incontraventionoftheprovisionsofsub-
section(1)ofSectionsection4,suchtrespassermay
beservedwithanorderofevictionbythe
StateGovernmentoranyauthorityauthorised
inthisbehalfbythatGovernmentandthe
StateGovernmentorsuchauthorisedauthority
may,ifnecessary,obtainthehelpofthe
policetoevictthetrespasserfromtheland.

(4)Wheneveranypersonraises,transports
orcausestoberaisedortransported,
withoutanylawfulauthority,anymineral
fromanyland,and,forthatpurpose,uses
anytool,equipment,vehicleoranyother
thing,suchmineraltool,equipment,vehicle
oranyotherthingshallbeliabletobe
seizedbyanofficerorauthorityspecially
empoweredinthisbehalf.(4A)Anymineral,
tool,equipment,vehicleoranyotherthing
seizedundersub-section(4),shallbeliable
tobeconfiscatedbyanorderofthecourt
competenttotakecognizanceoftheoffence
undersub-section(1)andshallbedisposed
ofinaccordancewiththedirectionsofsuch
court.

(5)Wheneveranypersonraises,withoutany
lawfulauthority,anymineralfromanyland,
theStateGovernmentmayrecoverfromsuch
personthemineralsoraised,or,wheresuch
mineralhasalreadybeendisposedof,the
pricethereof,andmayalsorecoverfromsuch
person,rent,royaltyortax,asthecasemay
be,fortheperiodduringwhichthelandwas
occupiedbysuchpersonwithoutanylawful
authority.

(6)NotwithstandinganythingcontainedinSectionthe
CodeofCriminalProcedure,1973(2of1974),
177

anoffenceundersub-section(1)shallbe
cognizable.”

182.TheminingofcoalincontraventionofSection

4(1)invitespenaltiesasenumeratedinSection21.The

presentisnotacasewhereanykindofpenaltyhas

beenimposedontheminersexceptthattheamountof

royaltyaspayableonminingofcoalisbeingcollected

bytheStateaspenalty.ItistruethattheState

GovernmenthaspowerunderSection21(5)torecover

fromsuchpersonthemineralssoraised,or,wheresuch

materialhasalreadybeendisposedof,theprice

thereof,andmayalsorecoverfromsuchperson,rent,

royaltyortax,asthecasemaybe,butitisforthe

StateGovernmenttoexerciseitspowerunderSection

21(5)bywayofpenalty.TheNGThasnotgivenany

reasonastohowcoalshallautomaticallyvestinthe

State.Therightofrecoveryofmineralascontemplated

underSection21(5)doesnotamounttosaythat

proprietaryrightofownerofthemineralsislost

ratherStateunderSection21(5)exercisesitspower

torecoverthemineralwhichhasbeenraisedwithout

anylawfulauthority.We,thus,areoftheviewthat
178

coalextractedandlyinginopenafter15.05.2016was

notautomaticallyvestedintheStateandtheownerof

thecoalorthepersonwhohasminedthecoalshall

havetheproprietaryrightinthemineralwhichshall

notbelost.

PointNo.14

183.SeveralI.A.shavebeenfiledbydifferent

applicantsseekingdirectiontotransportalready

extractedcoallyingatdifferentplacesinhills

districtsofStateofMeghalaya.Differentapplicants

mayclaimtodifferentquantitiesofcoalsituateat

differentplaces.Byourorderdated10.05.2019,we

havealreadypermittedtransportationofbalancecoal

totheextentof75050MTsforwhichchallanswere

alreadyissuedaftertheorderofthisCourtdated

04.12.2018.Theabovequantityofsaid75050MTs.was

balancequantityoutof176655Mts.,fortransportation

ofwhichorderwaspassedbythisCourton04.12.2018.

Inadditiontotheaforesaidquantity,claimwith

regardtodifferentquantitiesbydifferentapplicants

hasbeenlaid.Itisnotnecessaryforthepurposeof

thepresentcasetonoticedifferentquantitiesand
179

claimsofdifferentpersonsfortransportation.After

theorderoftheNGTdated31.08.2018,theStateof

Meghalayahasconstitutedcommitteestoassistthe

CommissionerandSecretary,MiningandGeologyto

prepareaseparateinventorywithregardtocoalnot

sofarrecordedintheinventoryavailablewiththe

NGT.Inpursuanceofsaiddirection,ascontainedin

paragraphNo.13oftheorder,stepsweretakenand

variouscommitteeshadmadecertainassessmentswith

regardtodifferentquantitiesofcoallyinginfour

HillsDistrictsofStateofMeghalaya.Katakey

committeeReportdated31.12.2018hasinchartnoticed

thedifferentquantitiesaswasinformedbyletter

dated13.11.2018toCommissionerandSecretarytothe

GovernmentofMeghalaya.Whiledealingwithissue

No.3,inparagraphNos.(iii),(iv)and(v),following

hasbeenstated:-

“(iii)TheCommissionerSecretarytothe
GovernmentofMeghalaya,MiningGeology
Department,intheATRsubmittedon
13.11.2018hasstatedabouttheavailability
of176655MTsofalreadyinventorisedcoal
fortransportation,whichhasalsobeen
reflectedintheorderdated04.12.2018
passedbytheHon’bleSupremeCourt.The
CommissionerSecretary,inthesaidATR,
hasalsostatedthat23,25,663.54MTsof
180

coal,otherthanthoseinventorizedcoal,
remainedun-inventorizedandavailablefor
transportation,district-wisebreakupof
whichisasfollows:-

“REPORTONEXTRACTEDCOALREFLECTEDAS
UN-ASSESSEDORNILINTHEINVENTORY
APPROVEDBYNGT
Sl.NameofDeclaredAssessed
No.DistrictQuantityinQuantityin
MTMT

1.EastJaintia15,46,687.0013,22,379.00
HillsDistrict

2.WestKhasi7,29,757.007,78,297.99
HillsDistrict

3.South-West1,25,600.632,14,145.55
KhasiHills
District

4.SouthGaro12,834.0010,841.00
HillsDistrict
Total24,14,878.6323,25,663.54”

(iv)FromtheaforesaidDistrictwisebreak
upofextractedcoal,whichwasun-

inventorised,itappearsthatthequantity
ofsuchcoalwashighestinEastJaintia
HillsDistrict,wheretheDeputy
Commissioner,asnoticedabove,hasadmitted
ongoingcoalminingactivitiesdespitethe
banimposedbytheHon’bleNGTvideorder
dated17.04.2014.ThestandoftheGovernment
thatthequantityofcoal,asreflectedin
theaforesaidchartwereminedpriortothe
saidban,appearstobenotacceptable,in
viewoftheaforesaidadmissionoftheDeputy
CommissionerandalsowhattheCommitteehas
noticedduringitsfieldvisiton12.11.2018.
Itseemsthatthereisanattempttoshowthe
freshlyminedcoal,i.e.thecoalminedafter
thebanimposedbytheHon’bleNGT,asthe
coalleftoutfromtheassessmentand
remainedun-inventorisedthoughminedprior
tothesaidban.TheCommitteealso
181

apprehendsthatsuchfreshlyminedcoalmay
betransportedtakingadvantageoftheorder
dated04.12.2018passedbytheHon’ble
SupremeCourt.

(v)TheHon’bleNGTvideitsorderdated
31.08.2018giventheresponsibilityofgoing
throughthesaidissuetotheSecretaryof
Mining,StateofMeghalayainthefirst
instanceandtobecross-checkedbytheJoint
TeamofrepresentativesoftheCentral
PollutionControlBoardandIndiaSchoolof
Mines,Dhanbad.Asreported,nosuchcross-
checkhassofarbeenmade.”

184.TheStateofMeghalayahasfiledadditional

affidavitdated06.04.2019ofCommissionerand

SecretarytotheGovernmentofMeghalaya,Miningand

GeologyDepartment,wheredetailsofassessmentsmade

bycommitteesappointedbytheStateofMeghalayahas

beenbroughtontherecord.Intheaffidavit,ithas

alsobeenstatedthatatechnicalcommitteewasalso

constitutedtoperformtheverificationofthe

assessmentsmadebytheDeputyCommissionersof

respectivedistricts.Aspertheaffidavit,assessment

ofextractedcoalstocksinabovefourdistrictsis

32,56,715MTswhereasinthereportsubmittedby

Katakeycommittee,thesaidfigureintheabovefour

districtsis23,25,663.54MTs.Technicalcommittee
182

submittedtheirreport,whichhavebeenbroughtonthe

recordalongwiththeAdditionalAffidavitverifyingthe

assessedquantities.Intheaffidavitofthe

CommissionerandSecretary,ithasalsobeensatedthat

thetechnicalcommitteeshavesubmittedthatitis

difficulttodefinewithcertaintythatwhichcoalwas

minedpriortobanin2014andminedafter2014.From

theaboveitisclearthattheStateGovernmentitself

hascomewithacasethathugequantityofcoalinthe

fourhillsdistricts,whichhasbeenextractedislying

waitingforordersoftransportation.LearnedAmicus

CuriaeandShriNidheshGupta,learnedseniorcounsel

haverefutedtheclaimmadebytheapplicantsaswell

astheStateofMeghalaya.Itissubmittedbylearned

AmicusCuriaethatinfactStateisnotmakingany

efforttostoptheillegalmining,inspiteoftheban

of17.04.2014,illegalminingofcoalhasbeen

permittedandnowsuchillegalminedcoalhasalsobeen

assessedandStatealsosupportstheclaimof

transportationoftheapplicantsontheguisethatcoal

lyinginopenisanenvironmentalhazard.
183

185.ShriNidheshGupta,learnedseniorcounsel

appearingforprivaterespondentsinC.A.No.5272of

2016hassubmittedthattheStateauctionedcoalona

meagreprice,whereasmarketrateofthecoalis

approximatelyRs.10,000/-perMT.Inthepresentcase,

wehavenoticedthatillegalcoalminingisgoingon

inspiteofbanbyNGTbyitsorderdated17.04.2014.

TheKatakeycommitteereporthasalsoopinedthatall

theextractedcoallyingindifferentdistrictsisa

coal,whichhasbeenillegallyminedafterthe

impositionofbanbytheorderdated17.04.2014.All

coalsbeingillegallymined,theStateisfully

entitledtoimposeapenalty,i.e.,torealisethe

royaltyandtheamountofMEPRFund.Thecoalbeing

majormineralandusefulfordifferentindustriesand

projects,appropriatedisposalofextractedcoalis

alsoofaparamountimportance.

186.WeacceptthesuggestionoflearnedAmicus

Curiaethatentireextractedcoallyingatvarious

placesbedirectedtobetakenoverbyCoalIndiaLtd,

aGovernmentofIndiaunit,whomaydisposeofthesame
184

asperitsnormalmethodofdisposalandproceedsbe

distributedasperdirectionsissuedbythisCourt

hereinafter.TheNGThasalreadydirectedthatforall

extractedcoallyingatdifferentplaces,itisthe

State,whichisthereceiver-cum-custodianofthecoal.

TheStatehavingcarriedouttheassessmentofthecoal

lyingintheaforesaidfourdistrictsincludingthe

detailsofthequantitiesandthedetailsofowners

beingavailablewithit,itmayensurethattheentire

coalarehandedovertotheCoalIndiaLtd.,asperthe

modeandmannertobeformulatedbyKatakeyCommittee,

inconsultationwithofficersoftheCoalIndiaLtd.

andStateofMeghalaya.

187.TheKatakeycommitteeanditsvariousmembers

andparticipantshavedoneacommendablejobin

studyingandexaminingvariousaspectsofenvironment

intheStateofMeghalayaandseveralvaluable

suggestionshavebeengivenbythecommittee,whichare

alsobeingimplementedtomitigatethesufferingofthe

citizensconsequenttotheillegalcoalmined.
185

188.WedirectthatCommissionerandSecretaryof

theStateintheDepartmentofMiningandGeology

alongwiththeofficersofCoalIndiaLtd.may

deliberatewiththeKatakeycommitteetofinalisea

comprehensiveplanfortransportationandhandingover

ofthecoaltoCoalIndiaLtd.fordisposal/auctionas

perrulesofCoalIndiaLtd.Disposal/auctionbyCoal

IndiaLtd.shallbebeneficialtoboththeownersof

theminesaswellastotheStateofMeghalaya.

Receivingfairvalueofthecoalshouldbeaconcern

ofboththeownersandState.ItisfortheCoalIndia

Ltd.todecideastovenue,wheretheyshallreceive

thecoal,i.e.,eitheratanyofitsdepotoranyother

placeinStateofMeghalayaanditisfortheCoal

IndiaLtd.tofinalisetheprocessofdisposaland

auctionofthecoal.Itgoeswithoutsayingthatit

shallbethedutyoftheStateofMeghalayaandits

officersespeciallyDeputyCommissionerofthearea

concernedtoenterdetailsofquantityofthecoal,

nameoftheownerandplacefromwhereitiscollected.

CoalIndiaLtd.shallalsotakestepstoensure

weighmentofthecoalwhenitisreceivedbyitand
186

sinceallconsequentstepsregardingdisposal,price

gradeofthecoalshallbedeterminedaspertheweight

ofthecoalreceivedbytheCoalIndiaLtd.from

differentplaces.Theexpensesoftransportationshall

bebornebytheStateofMeghalaya,CoalIndiaLtd.or

byboth,whichexpensesshallbedeductiblefromthe

pricereceivedofthecoal.TheStateofMeghalaya

shallbeentitledtoroyaltyandpaymenttowardsMERP

Fundaswellastaxesoutofthepriceofthecoal.

Afterdeductionofcostoftransportation,thepayment

ofroyaltyandpaymenttoMERPfundandtaxesplus10%

ofvalueofthecoaltobegiventoCoalIndiaLtd.for

theaboveexercise,balanceamountshallbedisbursed

totheownerofthecoaltowardsitsprice,which

disbursementshallbetheresponsibilityoftheState.

TheCoalIndiaLtd.aftertakingitsexpensesfor

transportationwith10%ofpriceofthecoalshall

remittheentireamounttotheStateanditisforthe

Stateafterdeductingtheroyaltyandpaymenttothe

MERPFundandtaxestopaybackthebalanceofthe

amounttotheowner.

187

189.Anotheraspectofthematterisalsotobe

noticed.Thecoal,whichhasbeenseizedbytheState

inillegaltransportationorillegalminingforwhich

differentcaseshavebeenregisteredbytheState,is

nottobedealtwithasdirectedabove.Thesaidseized

coalshallbedealtbytheStateinaccordancewith

Section21oftheAct,1957andonbeingsatisfied,the

Statecantakeadecisiontorecovertheentire

quantityofcoalsoillegallyraisedwithoutlawful

authorityandthesaidcaseshastobeseparatelydealt

withinaccordancewithlaw.

190.We,thus,areoftheviewthatallI.A.sfiled

bydifferentapplicantsseekingorderoftransportation

ofthedifferentquantitiesstanddisposedofinview

ofthedirectionsasgivenabove.LettheKatakey

committeeinconsultationwithStateofMeghalayaand

officersofCoalIndiaLtd.finaliseappropriatemode

andmannertoaffectthetransportanddisposalofthe

coalintheabovemanner.

188

Conclusions:-

191.Fromtheforegoingdiscussionswearrivedat

followingconclusions:-

1)TheapplicationO.A.No.73of2014hasclearly

madeoutallegationswhichweresufficientfor

theTribunaltoexerciseitsjurisdictionas

conferredbySection14oftheNationalGreen

TribunalAct,2010.Boththecomponentas

appearinginsub-section1ofSection14that

is(i)substantialquestionrelatingto

environmentand(ii)suchquestionarisesout

oftheimplementationoftheenactments

specifiedinScheduleI,werepresent.

2)TheallegationsoftheapplicantofO.A.No.73

of2014ofenvironmentaldegradationbyillegal

andunregulatedcoalminingwerefullyproved

frommaterialsontherecordincludingthe

reportoftheexperts,reportoftheMeghalaya

StatePollutionControlBoard,thereportof

Katakeycommittee,whichallproved
189

environmentaldegradationofwater,airand

surface.

3)ThestandtakenonbehalfoftheStateof

MeghalayabeforethisCourtthattheTribunal

hasnojurisdictioncannotbeapproved.The

StateGovernmentisunderconstitutional

obligationtoensurecleanenvironmenttoall

itscitizens.Incasespertainingto

environmentalmatter,theStatehastoactas

facilitatorandnotasobstructionist.

4)Accordingtothelandtenuresystemas

applicableintheHillsDistrictsofStateof

Meghalaya,themostofthelandsareeither

privatelyorcommunityownedinwhichState

doesnotclaimanyright.Theprivateownersof

thelandaswellascommunityownershaveboth

thesurfacerightaswellassub-soilrights.

5)Para12Asub-clause(b)ofSixthScheduleof

theConstitutionempowersthatthePresident

may,withrespecttoanyActofParliament,by
190

notification,directthatitshallnotapplyto

anautonomousdistrictoranautonomousregion

intheStateofMeghalaya,orshallapplyto

suchdistrictorregionoranypartthereof

subjecttosuchexceptionsormodificationsas

hemayspecifyinthenotification.No

notificationhasbeenissuedbythePresident

underSection12A(b).ThereisnothinginSixth

ScheduleoftheConstitutionwhichmayindicate

abouttheinapplicabilityofAct,1957with

regardtotheHillsDistrictsofStateof

Meghalaya.

6)ThereisnothinginSection4(1)of1957Actto

indicatethatrestrictioncontainedinSection

4(1)doesnotapplywithregardtoprivately

owned/communityownedlandinHillsDistricts

ofMeghalaya.Further,word‘anyarea’under

Section4(1)alsohassignificancewhichdoes

nothaveanyexception.Furtherphrase“except

underandinaccordancewithtermsand

conditionwithaminingleasegrantedunderthe
191

Act”arealsosignificantwhichmaketheintent

andpurposeofprohibitionclearandloud.

7)ThestatutoryschemedelineatedbySection

13(2)(f)andtheMinerals(Concession)Rules,

1960clearlycontemplategrantofmininglease,

withregardtoboththecategoriesofland,

i.e.,landinwhichmineralsvestinthe

Government,andthelandinwhichmineralsvest

inapersonotherthantheGovernment.

8)SectionTheMinesAct,1952containsvariousprovisions

regardinginspectionofminingoperationand

managementofmines.TheprovisionsofSectionThe

MinesAct,1952aremandatorytobefollowed

beforeworkingamine.Theregulationsnamely

CoalMinesRegulations,2017alsocontains

severalregulatoryprovisionswhichneedtobe

followedwhileworkingaminebyamininglease

holder.TheenforcementofSectionMinesAct,1952and

theRegulations,2017havetobeensuredbythe

Stateinthepublicinterest.

192

9)Asperstatutoryregimebroughtinforceby

notificationdated15.01.2016issuedunder

SectionEnvironment(Protection)Act,1986,

environmentalclearanceisrequiredfora

projectofcoalforminingofanyextentof

area.Whileimplementingstatutoryregimefor

carryingminingoperationsintheHills

DistrictsoftheStateofMeghalaya,theState

ofMeghalayahastoensurecomplianceofnot

onlySectionMMDRAct,1957butSectionMinesAct,1952aswell

asEnvironment(Protection)Act,1986.

10)InHillDistrictofStateofMeghalayafor

carryingcoalminingoperationsinprivately

owned/communityownedlanditisnottheState

Governmentwhichshallgrantthemininglease

underChapterVofRules,1960,butitisthe

privateowner/communityowneroftheland,who

isalsotheownerofthemineral,whoshall

grantleaseforminingofcoalasperprovisions

ofChapterVofRules,1960afterobtaining
193

previousapprovaloftheCentralGovernment

throughtheStateGovernment.

11)TheStateofMeghalayahasamplepowerand

jurisdictionundertheAct,1957andRules,

1960tocheck,controlandprohibitcoalmining

operationsinHillDistrictsofStateof

Meghalaya.

12)TheUnionhavingmadedeclarationbySection2

of1957Acttakingunderitscontrolregulation

anddevelopmentofmineral,thepowerof

AutonomousDistrictCounciltolegislateonthe

subjectshallalsobedenudedasthatofthe

StateLegislature.

13)Ineventtheminingiscarriedoutbyamining

leaseholderaspertheprovisionsofAct,1957

andRules,1960withanapprovedminingplan

therecanbenoobjectionsincarryingofsuch

miningoperationsundertheregulationand

controloftheStateofMeghalaya.Weclarify

thatineventminingoperationsareundertaken
194

inprivatelyowned/communityownedlandin

HillsDistrictsofMeghalayainaccordancewith

miningleasewithapprovedminingplanasper

Act,1957andMineralConcessionsRule,1960,

thebanorderdated17.04.2014ofthetribunal

oftheNGTshallnotcomeinwayofcarrying

miningoperations.

14)UnderOrder26Rule10AoftheCivilProcedure

Code,aCourtcanappointcommissionfor

scientificinvestigation.Thepowerwhichcan

beexercisedbyaCourtunderOrder26Rule10A

ofCPCcanverywellbeexercisedbytheNGT

also.TheNGTwhileaskingexperttogivea

reportisnotconfinedtothefourcornersof

Rule10Aanditsjurisdictionisnotshackled

bystricttermsofOrder21Rule10Abyvirtue

of19(1)oftheNGTAct.

15)Rule24ofNationalGreenTribunal(Practice

andProcedure)Rules,2011empowersthe

Tribunaltomakesuchordersorgivesuch
195

directionsasmaybenecessaryorexpedientto

giveeffecttoitsorderortosecuretheends

ofjustice.ThepowergiventotheTribunalis

coupledwithdutytoexercisesuchpowersfor

achievingtheobjects.Thereisnolackof

jurisdictioninNGTindirectingfor

appointmentofacommitteeandtoobtaina

reportfromaCommittee.

16)Thedirectiontoconstituteafundnamely

“MeghalayaEnvironmentProtectionand

RestorationFund”,isalsosavedunderthe

abovepower.

17)NGTbydirectingforconstitutionofcommittee

hasnotdelegatedessentialjudicialfunctions.

TheTribunalhadkeptcompletecontrolonall

stepswhichwererequiredtobetakenbythe

committeesandhasissueddirectionsfromtime

totime.TheStateisalwaysatlibertyto

obtainappropriatedirectionsifaggrievedby

anyactofthecommittee.Thematterbeing
196

pendingbeforetheTribunalallactsofthe

committeeareunderdirectcontrolofthe

Tribunalandifthecommitteeoverstepsinany

directionthesamecanverywellbecorrected

bytheTribunalonthematterbeingbrought

beforeit.

18)NGTbyissuingdirectiontoconstitutethe

committeefortransportationoftheextracting

mineral,forpreparingtimeboundactionplan

todealwiththerestorationofenvironmentand

toensureitsimplementationdoesnotinany

mannerinterferewiththepowersofthe

DistrictorRegionalCouncils.TheDistrictand

RegionalCouncilsarefreetoexerciseall

theirpowersandcommitteeconstitutedbythe

Tribunalisonlyconcernedwiththe

Environmentaldegradationandillegalcoal

mining.Thecommitteesreportordirectionof

theTribunalinnomannerencroachesuponthe

administrationofTribalareasbytheDistrict

andRegionalCouncils.

197

19)TheamountwhichhasbeendirectedbyNGTtobe

depositedbyStateofMeghalayaisneithera

penaltynorafineimposedontheStateof

Meghalaya.Weacceptthesubmissionsofthe

learnedcounselfortheappellantthatStateof

Meghalayahasverylimitedsourceoffinances

andputtinganextraburdenontheStateof

MeghalayatomakepaymentofRs.100Crores

fromitsownfinancialresourcesmaycause

greathardshiptotheStateofMeghalaya.Ends

ofjusticebeservedinmodifyingthedirection

ofNGTdated04.01.2019totheextentthatState

ispermittedtotransferanamountofRs.100

CroresfromtheamountlyingintheMEPRFto

theCentralPollutionControlBoard.The

CentralPollutionControlBoardasdirectedby

theTribunalshallutilizetheaforesaidamount

ofRs.100Croresonlyforrestorationofthe

environmentintheStateofMeghalaya.
198

20)Thecoalextractedandlyinginopenafter

15.05.2016doesnotautomaticallyvestinthe

StateofMeghalayaandtheownerofthecoalor

thepersonwhohasminedthecoalshallhave

theproprietaryrightinthemineralwhich

shallnotbelost.

21)ThesuggestionoflearnedAmicusCuriaethat

entireextractedcoallyingatvariousplaces

inhillsdistrictsofMeghalayabedirectedto

betakenoverbyCoalIndiaLtd.isaccepted.

TheCoalIndiaLtd.maydisposeofthesameas

peritsnormalmethodofdisposalandproceeds

bedealtwithasperdirectionsissued.

22)TheStatehavingcarriedouttheassessmentof

thecoallyingintheaforesaidfourdistricts

includingthedetailsofthequantitiesandthe

detailsofownersbeingavailablewithit,it

mayensurethatentirecoalishandedoverto

theCoalIndiaLtd.,asperthemodeandmanner

tobeformulatedbyKatakeyCommitteein
199

consultationwithofficersoftheCoalIndia

Ltd.andtheStateofMeghalaya.

23)ItisforCoalIndiaLtd.todecideastovenue,

wheretheyshallreceivethecoal,i.e.,either

atanyofitsdepotoranyotherplaceinthe

StateofMeghalayaanditisfortheCoalIndia

Ltd.tofinalisetheprocessofdisposaland

auctionofthecoal.Itshallbethedutyof

theStateofMeghalayaanditsofficers

especiallyDeputyCommissionerofthearea

concernedtoenterdetailsofquantityofthe

coal,nameoftheownerandplacefromwhereit

iscollected.Allconcernedshalltakestepsto

ensureweighmentofthecoalwhenitisreceived

byCoalIndiaLtd.

24)Theexpensesoftransportationshallbeborne

bytheStateofMeghalaya,CoalIndiaLtd.or

byboth,whichexpensesshallbedeductible

fromthepricereceivedofthecoal.TheState

ofMeghalayashallbeentitledtoroyaltyand
200

paymenttowardsMERPFundaswellastaxesout

ofthepriceofthecoal.Afterdeductingits

expensesfortransportationwith10%ofprice

ofthecoal,theCoalIndiaLtd.shallremit

thebalanceamounttotheStateanditisfor

theStateafterdeductingtheroyaltyand

paymenttotheMERPFundandtaxestopayback

balancetheamounttotheowner.

25)ThecoalwhichhasbeenseizedbytheStatein

illegaltransportationandillegalminingfor

whichdifferentcaseshavebeenregisteredby

theState,isnottobedealtwithasdirected

above.Theseizedcoalshallbedealtbythe

StateinaccordancewithSection21oftheAct,

1957andonbeingsatisfied,theStatecantake

adecisiontorecovertheentirequantityof

coalsoillegallyraisedwithoutlawful

authority.

201

192.Inviewoftheforegoingdiscussionsand

conclusions,alltheseappealsaredecidedinthe

followingmanner:-

1)CivilAppealNo.10720of2018,CivilAppealNo.

10611of2018,CivilAppealNo.10907of2018

andCivilAppealNo………………of2019(arisingoutof

CivilAppealDiaryNo.3067of2018)are

dismissedsubjecttodeclarationand

clarificationoflawasmadeabove.

2)CivilAppealNo.5272of2016isallowedsetting

asidetheorderofNGTdated31.03.2016tothe

extentitdeclaredthatallextractedcoalafter

15.05.2016shallvestintheStateofMeghalaya.

3)CivilAppealNo.2968of2019ispartlyallowed

permittingtheStateofMeghalayatotransfer

theamountofRs.100CrorestoCentralPollution

ControlBoardfromtheMeghalayaEnvironment

ProtectionandRestorationFundwhichamount

shallbeusedbyCentralPollutionControlBoard

onlyforrestorationofEnvironment.

4)AllI.As.seekingdirectionfortransportation
202

ofcoalaredisposedofdirecting:-

i)AllextractedcoalasassessedbyStateof

Meghalayalyingindifferentdistrictsof

StateofMeghalayawhichasperorderofNGT

isincustodyofStateofMeghalayashall

behandedovertoCoalIndiaLtd.forproper

disposal.

ii)TheKatakeyCommitteeafterdiscussionwith

CoalIndiaLtd.andStateofMeghalayashall

formulateamechanismfortransport,

weighmentofallassessedcoal.

iii)TheCoalIndiaLtd.shallauctionthecoal

soreceivedbyitasperitsbestjudgment

andremittheproceedtoStatetotheextent

asdirectedabove.

iv)AllcoalseizedbytheStateforwhichcases

havealreadybeenregisteredshallbedealt

bytheStateinaccordancewithSection21

of1957Act.

193.Beforeweclose,werecordourappreciationfor

valuableassistancerenderedbylearnedcounselforthe
203

partieswhichenableustodecideseveralimportant

issuesintheseappeals.Wealsorecordour

appreciationforassistancerenderedbylearnedAmicus

CuriaeShriColinGonsalves,SeniorAdvocate.

......................J.

(ASHOKBHUSHAN)

......................J.

(K.M.JOSEPH)
NewDelhi,
July03,2019

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