W. P. No. 366 of 2014. Case: R. Chidambaram Vs Andaman and Nicobar Administration and Ors.. High Court of Calcutta (India)

Case NumberW. P. No. 366 of 2014
CounselFor Appellant: Gopala Binnu Kumar, Adv. and For Respondent: Santosh Kumar Mandal, Satish Chandra Mishra, Advs.
JudgesArijit Banerjee, J.
IssueMines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (67 of 1957) - Section 15; Andaman and Nicobar Islands Minor Minerals Rules (2012) - Rule 7
CitationAIR 2016 Cal 14
Judgement DateJuly 06, 2015
CourtHigh Court of Calcutta (India)


  1. The case of the petitioner is that he is a recorded tenant of the land bearing survey No. 255/65 measuring area about 0.20 hectares situated at Bimblitan village, Port Blair Tehsil, South Andaman District.

  2. The land is rich in natural resources and fit for mining operation. The petitioner was carrying on business of extraction of quarry in his own land for about last 20 years on the strength of a valid permit issued by the respondent No. 2 which was renewed from time to time.

  3. In June 2011, a case was initiated against the petitioner under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and the petitioner was remanded to judicial custody. He was subsequently released on bail on 30th September, 2013.

  4. In the meantime the respondent No.4 issued an order dated 25th October, 2011 whereby the quarry permit of the petitioner was kept in abeyance with effect from 9th August, 2011 till the disposal of the said criminal case.

  5. In 2012, the respondent No. 2 initiated the process of auctioning the quarry operation and in November 2012, 38 quarries were auctioned. All such quarry operations are being carried out on government land. The petitioner could not participate in the bidding process because he was in judicial custody.

  6. Being desirous of resuming the quarry operation on his land, the petitioner made a representation to the respondent No. 2 on 18.03.2013 requesting for renewal of quarry permit. There was no response from the respondent No.2 to the said representation.

  7. The petitioner filed a writ petition in this court being WP No. 202 of 2013 challenging the order dated 25th October, 2011 passed by the respondent No.2 whereby the petitioner's quarry permit was kept in abeyance and also the failure on the part of the respondents in responding to the petitioner's representation dated 18.03.2013. This court by an order dated 27.11.2013 directed the respondent No. 2 to dispose of the petitioner's representation dated 18.03.2013 by passing a reasoned order and after considering the judgement of the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Thressiamma Jacob and others v. Geologists, Department of Mining and Geology and other, reported in (2013) 9 SCC 725: (AIR 2013 SC 3251).

  8. Pursuant to this court's order, the Deputy Commissioner, South Andaman District passed an order dated 20.08.2014 rejecting the petitioner's request for renewal of quarry permit. The petitioner has challenged the said order of the Deputy Commissioner in the present writ petition.

  9. Appearing on behalf of the petitioner Mr. Kumar learned counsel submitted that the petitioner had been carrying on the operation of extracting quarry from his own land for the last 20 years. He has never violated any conditions of the permit that was granted to him. He is prepared to pay royalty to the government. The natural mineral in his land belongs to him and there cannot be any justification on the part of the respondent authorities in refusing to renew the quarry permit.

  10. Mr. Kumar heavily relied on the Supreme Court decision in the case of Thressiamma Jacob and others (AIR 2013 SC 3251) (supra). In particular he relied on paragraphs 51, 53, 54, 55 and 56 of the said judgment which are set out hereunder:

    51. The other material which prompted the High Court to reach the conclusion that the subsoil/minerals vest in the State is (a) recitals of a patta which is already noted by us earlier (in para 12) which states that if minerals are found in the property covered by the patta and if the pattadar exploits those minerals, the pattadar is liable for a separate tax in addition to the tax shown in the patta and (2) certain standing orders of the Collector of Malabar which provided for collection of seigniorage fee in the event of the mining operation being carried on. We are of the clear opinion that the recitals in the patta or the Collector's standing order that the exploitation of mineral wealth in the patta land would...

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