Writ Petition No. 832 (MS) of 2013. Case: THDC India Ltd Vs State of Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand High Court

Case NumberWrit Petition No. 832 (MS) of 2013
CounselFor Petitioner: Rakesh Tiku, Sr. Advocate, Neeraj Malhotra, Shobhit Saharia, Advs. and For Respondents: Anil Kumar Joshi, Addl. CSC
JudgesAlok Singh, J.
IssueMines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (67 of 1957) - Section 21(5)
CitationAIR 2014 Utr 55
Judgement DateMay 26, 2014
CourtUttarakhand High Court


  1. Learned counsel for the petitioners submits that he does not want to press CLMA Nos. 4954/2014, 5305/2014, 4966/2014 and 4967/2014, therefore, same are dismissed as not pressed.

  2. In all the writ petitions identical questions of law and fact are involved, therefore, with the consent of learned counsel for the parties, all the writ petitions were heard together and are being disposed of by this common judgment.

  3. About 6 decades ago, Tehri Dam for the purpose of generating electricity was dreamed of. After different surveys, the site was finalized and lands of different habitants were acquired for the purpose of construction of Tehri Dam. Land so acquired was handed over to Tehri Dam Project. Earlier, entire project was going on under the supervision and management of Irrigation Department of Uttar Pradesh. Initial construction work was done by the Irrigation Department of U.P., however, in the month of July, 1988, the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation was constituted / incorporated. THDC, Government of India and Government of Uttar Pradesh, agreed that 12% of the generated electricity shall be supplied to the State of U.P. free of cost. For the purpose of construction of Tehri Dam, huge chunk of land was dug and ultimately, Tehri Dam, as dreamed of, came into existence. The State Government decided to recover the royalty and penalty from the petitioners saying petitioners were involved in illegal mining of minerals within Tehri Dam and Koteshwar Dam areas without taking mining lease / license, as required under Section 4 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, therefore, were liable to pay royalty and penalty under Section 21 (5) of the Act. Feeling aggrieved, petitioners have approached this Court by way of filing present writ petitions.

  4. The short question involved in all the petitions is, as to whether digging of the land for the purpose of underground construction or for the purpose of construction of dam would amount to "mining operations"?

  5. Sections 3 (d), 4 and 21 of the Act, 1957 are being reproduced hereunder:

    "3 (d) "mining operations" means any operations undertaken for the purpose of winning any mineral;

    Section 4. Prospecting or mining operations to be under licence or lease

    (1) [No person shall undertake any reconnaissance, prospecting or mining operations in any area, except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a reconnaissance permit or of a prospecting licence or, as the case may be, of a mining lease, granted under this Act and the rules made thereunder]:

    Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall affect any prospecting or mining operations undertaken in any area in accordance with the terms and conditions of a prospecting licence or mining lease granted before the commencement of this Act which is in force at such commencement:

    [Provided further that nothing in this sub-section shall apply to any prospecting operations undertaken by the Geological Survey of India, the Indian Bureau of Mines, [the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research] of the Department of Atomic Energy of the Central Government, the Directorates of Mining and Geology of the Department of Atomic Energy of the Central Government, the Directorates of Mining and Geology ofany State Government (by whatever name called), and the Mineral Exploration Corporation...

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