July 21, 2021 11:05:07 am
Observing that there were no legitimate grounds for review, the Supreme Court has dismissed review petitions filed by Goa government and Vedanta Limited against a 2018 decision of the apex court striking down the state government’s move to renew 88 mining leases. Mining activity in the state had come to halt following the top court decision.
The apex court observed that Goa government had filed four review petitions after a delay of 650 days and Vedanta Limited had filed its petitions after a delay of 907 days. “No cogent grounds have been furnished for the delay between 20 and 26 months by the two parties in filing their applications for review,” Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice M R Shah wrote in their July 9 order.
Goa government and Vedanta Limited had filed the review petitions against the Supreme Court’s February 7, 2018 decision ordering complete closure of mining activity after it revoked 88 mining leases issued in 2015, and called for a fresh auction following scrutiny of environmental clearances and protocols, according to the amended Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act in 2016.
In the July 9 order, the Supreme Court observed, “In accordance with Rule 2 of Order XLVII of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, an application for review of a judgement has to be filed within thirty days of the date of the judgment or order that is sought to be reviewed.”
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In the four-page order, the judges also noted that Goa government and Vedanta Limited had filed their petitions after Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta, who passed the February 2018 order in a petition by the Goa Foundation, had retired. “Such practise must be firmly disapproved to preserve the institutional sanctity of the decision making of this Court,” the bench said.
The Supreme Court observed, “Keeping in mind the above, we are inclined to dismiss these review petitions on the ground of limitation alone. However, in any event, we also find that no legitimate grounds for review of the judgment in Goa Foundation II have been made out, and dismiss these review petitions on merits as well.”
NGO Goa Foundation and four other petitioners had moved the top court challenging the renewal of leases in 2015. They had questioned the renewal instead of issuing fresh leases, absence of an auction and violations in the renewal of the environmental clearances.
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant said the state government that had earlier announced the setting up of a mining corporation and will introduce a Bill in the Monsoon Session of Goa legislative Assembly later this month. About the delay in filing the review petition Sawant said, “After I took charge as CM, it took us about seven months to study the issue. As soon as we realised there was no option but to file a review petition, we filed it.”
“We are very serious about resuming mining activities. I have asked the director of mines to work on this. Some leases will be through corporation and some will through auction. We will do this at the earliest,” Sawant said.
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