Litigation and Entitlement Kendra& Ors Vs. State of U.P. & Ors  INSC 194 (4 May 1990)
Rangnath Misra Rangnath Sawant, P.B. Ramaswamy, K.
1990 SCR (3) 72 JT 1990 Supl. (2) 391 1990 SCALE (1)97
of India, 1950: Article 32--Doon Valley--Loss
caused to ecology--Mining operations to stop--No petition to be entertained by
of on 30.8.1988 Writ Petitions Nos. 8209 and 8821 of 1983 this Court had come
to the conclusion that the entire mining operation in the Doon Valley should
come to a halt excepting in the case of a selected few, for reasons indicated
in that order. Since then from time to time sever- al applications had been
moved by the ex-lessees seeking permission for removing the stacked material or
extension of time for appropriating the mined material. In allowing or
rejecting each such application this Court has been express- ing itself clearly
that the Doon Valley should be made available for afforestation to make good the
loss caused to the ecology.
today's order while disposing of all the pending applications including one
fresh Writ Petition in the light of the report of the Monitoring Committee
appointed by this Court, the Court,
No application either for original permission or for extension of time shall
hereafter be entertained by this Court and the Registry is directed by this
order not to entertain such petitions. It may be that such direction may affect
some one who has not been vigilant or has on account of some other difficulty
or hardship not been able to remove the stacked material within his leasehold
area in the Doon Valley; but taking the broad interest of the entire Valley
into account such individual losses or inconveniences have to be sacrificed
and/or overlooked and equities can no longer be allowed to be invoked. [76A-B]
A detailed report on the afforestation scheme may now be placed by the
Monitoring Committee by 30th
June, 1990 for
consideration of the Court on 23rd July, 1990.
The rehabili- tation scheme which has already been furnished by the appro- priate
committee should also be 73 placed before the Court for orders on the said
JURISDICTION: I.A. Nos. 1, 3 and 10 of 1989 and 12 of 1990.
Writ Petition (C) No. 8209 of 1983 etc.
Article 32 of the Constitution of India).
V. Gauri Shankar, M.K. Ramamurthy, Prashant Bhushan, T. Sridharan, Ms. Shobha Dixit
and M.A. Krishna- murthy fox the Petitioners.
Anil Katiyar, Ms. A. Subhashini R.P. Srivastava (NP), Promod Dayal, R.B. Mehrotra
and Raju Ramachandran for the Respondents.
Order of the Court was delivered by RANGANATH MISRA, J. On 30th of August,
1988, while disposing of two writ petitions being Nos. 8209 and 8821 of 1983,
this Court came to the conclusion that the entire mining operation in the Doon Valley should
come to a halt.
view to effectuating this conclusion all mining activity was directed to be
stopped excepting in the case of a few for reasons indicated in that order.
applications thereafter came before this Court for permission to remove stacked
material and almost for one and a half years now, many rounds of such
applications have been filed before this Court which have led to inquiries
being made by executive authorities, a joint inspection by the District Judge
and the District Magistrate as also separate reports from the Monitoring
Committee appointed by this Court. After hearing parties in some cases the
court has granted permission for removal and extended time for appropriating
the mined material. On the plea that within the time given by the Court removal
was not possible, fresh extensions of extended dates have also been asked for.
stage, the Monitoring Committee reported that taking advantage of such extensions
further mining was being illegally undertaken. The Monitoring Committee also
pointed out that where the 74 mined material was spread over it had
consolidated and grass as also other vegetations have started growing. In these
circumstances, while either allowing or rejecting the appli- cations for
removal or extension or allowing removal under restrictions, this Court has
been expressing itself clearly that the Doon Valley should be made available
for afforesta- tion to make good the loss that had been caused to the ecology
and that work should no longer be interfered with.
fresh set of applications have now been made for permission to remove the mined
material, machinery and/or extension of time for the same. This Court had
called for a report on the basis of joint inspection by the District Judge and
the District Magistrate of Dehradun and after the said report was received, the
Monitoring Committee has made its report on the basis of this Court's
direction. A group of these applications had been heard on 12th of February,
1990, but as some other applications remained to be disposed of on the basis of
the report of the Monitoring Committee which was yet to be received, no orders
had then been made.
Monitoring Committee sent its report dated 6th of April, 1990, and the other
group of applications which were then pending have in the meantime been heard
on 26th of April, 1990. We proceed to dispose of all the pending applications
by this order.
have considered the submissions with some amount of anxiety particularly as we
are of the definite view that the Doon
Valley should be left free to the planters
for reaffor- estation and the mine-owners should be put out in every respect of
the same. Two or three aspects have, however, to be borne in mind while dealing
with a case of this type.
was stopped by our order all of a sudden within a month from 30th of August,/988.
Though fresh mining is stopped, mined material which had been appropriated by
the mine-owner by his own efforts should ordinarily be allowed to be taken by
him. There is no doubt that the mined materi- al has been loosened from the
original place by digging and even if it is allowed to be stacked,
consolidation of such material is bound to take quite some time and within one year
it is not likely to consolidate appropriately. The mined material has a market
and with the closure of the mining operation substantially in the Doon Valley, this
material seems to have been fetching good price as there is demand for the
same. When mining was stopped, no compensa- tion was provided and the only hope
our order held out was rehabilitation.
this stage, it is appropriate to extract a portion from the letter 75 Of the
Chairman of the Monitoring Committee dated April 6, 1990, addressed to the Registrar of this
Court. The Chairman is no other than the Secretary to the Government of India
in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. He has pointed out:
Committee would seek the indulgence of the Court to submit to the Hon'ble
Justices that the areas ravaged by these mines including the roads leading to
the mine areas are in immediate need of afforestation to consolidate the soil
and prevent soil erosion. Permission granted to the miners will inevitably
delay the process of afforestation and will destroy any natural vegetation that
has come up along the roads and the mine areas since the last monsoon.
David Paul (Lease No. 99) in fact broke several check dams in the process of
lifting material taking advantage of this Court's orders granting him
permission to remove quar- ried material. The process of afforestation of these
areas cannot even be started as long as various applications of these miners
for removal of material are pending before this Hon'ble Court. It is humbly submitted that this Court must, therefore,
once and for all, put an end to such applica- tions, in order that the
Monitoring Committee may vigorously take up the task of afforestation of these
areas." We can quite appreciate the anxiety of the Monitoring Committee that
initial permission and extension of time for removal has disturbed afforestation.
The Monitoring Commit- tee must, however, appreciate that the enthusiasm which
it is prepared to exhibit has to be sobered down in the initial period by such
judicial directions as are called for taking the cause of equity and justice
in such of the cases where permission or extension for removal would be granted
now, we are of the view that the mine-owners should not be permitted to operate
and the District Magistrate should set up a machinery under his control and
subject to the supervision of the Monitoring Committee to enable removal. We do
not propose to allow the process of removal to continue beyond 15th of June,
process of afforestation for the year would begin only by that time awaiting
the onset of the monsoons. The ex- lessees in whose case original or extended
orders permitting removal would now be made have, therefore, to contact the
District Magistrate within one week of this order and the District Magistrate
would work out removal on appropriate payment from the respective areas of the
ex-lessees of 76 the extracted material as mentioned in this Court's order of
today on or before 15th of June, 1990. We make it clear that no application
either for original permission or for exten- sion shall hereafter be
entertained by this Court and the Registry is directed by this order not to
entertain such petitions. It may be that such direction may affect some one who
has not been vigilant or has on account of some other difficulty or hardship
been not able to remove the stacked material within his leasehold area in the Doon
Valley; but taking the broad interests of the entire Valley into account such
individual losses or inconveniences have to be sacri- ficed and/or overlooked
and equities can no longer be al- lowed to be invoked.
INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATIONS IN DISPOSED OF WRIT PETTION NO. 8209 OF 1983
NO. I OF 1989 This application is by the former lessee of lease No.
Pal Singh Chaudhary. The mine closed down on 30th of September, 1988 in terms
of this Court's direction dated 30.8.1988. The first report on the record is
dated 18th of February, 1989, jointly given by the Additional District
Magistrate, Dehradun, D.P. Sharma, Geologist of Dehradun and the Forest Range
Officer, Mussoorie. This report indicated that limestone extracted was found
lying scattered in dif- ferent marble pits and also heaps of different shapes.
The estimated quantity in the heaps appeared to be 11,500 metric tons. This
Court permitted removal of the mined material and the report of the Monitoring
Committee shows that between March and May, 1989, with extensions obtained from
the Court, 11,539 metric tons have already been removed.
joint inspection report of the District Judge and the District Magistrate has
indicated that there was no fresh mining in the area after 30th of August,
1988, and it appeared that the scattered material had been collected and
removed while the stack has remained untouched. The present petition is for
removal of the stack which is claimed to be more than 11,000 metric tons.
Monitoring Committee on the basis of the fact that 11,539 metric tons had been
removed has assumed that there must have been fresh mining to justify the
presence of the stack. It has also indicated in the report that there is no
danger whatsoever of any scree or stacked 77 material rolling down and
affecting and choking the streams.
to the Committee, giving fresh opportunity for removal would encourage illicit
mining and several mine- owners are likely to carry on that clandestinely.
Keeping the two reports in view,-we are inclined to hold that there has been no
fresh mining and the stack now found is the old one; it would not be appropriate
to assume that the stack has consolidated nor is it possible that the
vegetation on such a stack would grow within a year. For the reasons we have
already indicated earlier we think it appropriate that ex-mine-owner of lease
No. 16 should be permitted to have the existing stacked material of 11,500
metric tons removed from the leasehold area but the same shall be through the
agency set up by the district Magistrate on terms of payment and the removal
shall be completed on or before the 15th June, 1990. It is made clear that the
removal shall be supervised by the Monitoring Committee.
Nos. 3 and 10 of 1989 and 12 of 1990 These are applications made on behalf of
Punjab Lime & Limestone Company for extension of time for lifting the mined
material lying in the first two lease areas held by the aforesaid lessee and
for original permission for the lease No. 96. Under the final order of this
Court dated 30th August, 1988, [1988 3 JT 787] in Paragraph 51 of the deci- sion
three mines including lease No. 96 valid up to 12.12.
were permitted to work. Therefore, mining activity in respect of lease No. 96
must have stopped after 12th Decem- ber, 1989. The joint inspection report of
the District Judge and the District Magistrate indicated that 2,269 metric tons
of material were lying at the face of the mine in lease No.
while in regard to lease No. 14/i there was no materi- al found and the
scattered scree was reported to have total- ly stabilised. The Monitoring
Committee has opposed removal from lease No. 14/ii by saying that permission to
remove had been given and utilised. We are of the view that the peti- tion in
regards to lease No. 14/i should be rejected in view of the concurrent reports
of the joint inspection and the Monitoring Committee that the scree has already
consolidat- ed. So far as 2,269 metric tons from lease No. 14/i are concerned
there is no particular reason to take a different view and we direct that the
same shall be removed through the machinery set up by the District Magistrate
upon payment of the cost by the ex-mineowner. This removal shall also to be
made prior to 15th
No. 96 closed down operations on 12th December, 1989. 5000 metric tons of limestone are
claimed to have been scattered over 78 the area and reliance is placed upon the
rule permitting six months' time from the date of closing for removal of such
material. 'The Monitoring Committee has reported that there was no scree lying
on the leased area. It found that there is some scattered material on the
surface of the mine which cannot conveniently be stacked up. Since this is the
first application of the ex-lessee after the mining has been closed, we would
have directed the Monitoring Committee to make a fresh inspection in the
presence of the ex-mine-owner but in view of the clear report that there was no
stacked material found by the Monitoring Committee and the further fact stated
in the report that the scree has already consol- idated even during the
currency of the mining lease, we do not think it will be appropriate at this
stage to permit any removal. The petition is accordingly dismissed.
Nos. 5 and 6 of 1989 This petition is by the legal representatives of C.G. Gujral
who as lessee of lease No. 76. The first petition is for substitution of his
legal representatives. It is allowed. So far as the second one is concerned,
the legal representa- tives of Shri Gujral, ex-mine-owner requests for
permission for removal of the extracted mineral as also some machine parts from
the leasehold area. At the instance of Shri Gujral this Court on 30.1.89 had
made the following order:
learned counsel in C.M.P. for permission to remove the mining material already
lying at the quarry site.
to the verification by the Collector either person- ally or by a responsible
officer that the allegation is correct, removal may be permitted. The entire
stock either near the quarry or stocked in the stacking site should be removed
within four weeks from the day permission is granted ..... ".
alleged that soon after on 18th September, 1989, C.G. Gujral, original mine
lessee died and his legal repre- sentatives had instituted a suit. The suit has
now been dismissed by a separate order of this Court and interim relief granted
has also been vacated. This petition filed in July, 1989, seeks permission for
removal of the stacked material and for permission to remove the machinery
which comprises of compressors and tools said to be lying at the mine-site. The
joint inspection report indicates that the mine site was not accessible. 16 Kms.
pathway had been damaged and even walking was not possible. If we permit the
roadway to be repaired, there is apprehension of 79 damage to the land in the
locality. If the work is left to the legal representatives of the ex-mine-owner
they are likely to collect material for the purpose of repair which would
definitely affect the ecology. Yet there are valuable machines apart from the
mined material to be collected. We leave it to the Collector and the Monitoring
Committee to find out if by some convenient path or any other process by which
the machinery and the mined material can be moved out.
legal representatives of the ex-mine-owner may now contact the Collector and
the Monitoring Committee to find out the modality of removal and in case some
convenient way is found out the stacked material and the machinery may be
removed with the help of the agency of the Collector subject to the payment of
the cost on or before 15th June, 1990.
No. 18702 of 1989 This application is by the ex lessee of lease No. 31.
joint inspection report indicates that the mining was stopped on 12th March,
1985 and there has been no fresh quarrying. The report indicates:
the mining faces in the slopes and in the river beds scree and fine material
were seen lying and scattered. Natu- ral vegetation is overgrown. Plants like
..... were grow- ing. At some spots pine plants and furns were also found
growing indicating that there is existence of humus and the already quarried
material has compacted and settled binding the soil." In this view of the
matter it becomes difficult to entertain this petition at this stage; the
petition is accordingly dismissed.
No. 4 of 1989 This application is by the ex-lessee of mine No. 17 asking for
permission for removal of already extracted mineral lying at the mine site. In
the joint inspection report it has been indicated that this Court had granted
some time for removal. The ex-lessee had also obtained an order from the Addl.
District Judge of Dehradun. The report indicated that there was no sign of
fresh mining. We have taken all aspects into account and we are of the view
that this application has to be rejected.
C.M.P. No. 18703 of 1989 This application is on behalf of the ex-lessee of
lease No. 8 for extension of time for lifting of mined mineral.
joint inspection report indicates that mining in this area was stopped as early
as 12th March, 1985, and "Natural vegetation has overgrown in and around
the mining faces.
quarried material was lying scattered in the slopes, the quantity of which
could not be ascertained or measured. The Monitoring Committee in its report
dated 10.8.89 assessed that approximately 7,000 metric tons of the mining
material was lying scattered in the mining area." We have no intention to
permit any meddling to unsettle the settled situation. As the mining has
stopped for more than five years and the report is that there has been
overgrowth of natural vegetation we do not intend to permit extension of time
as prayed for. The petition is accordingly dis- missed.
11756 of 1988 The two writ petition Nos. 8209 and 8821 of 1983 clearly relate
to the Doon Valley and mining activity falling within the district of Tehri-Garhwal
was not be the subject-matter of those two writ petitions. The CMP filed by the
State of Uttar Pradesh is dismissed leaving it open to the State to agitate its
contentions in regard to mining activity in Tehri-Garhwal separately.
No. 151 of 1990 This is an application under Art. 32 of the Constitution asking
for grant of leases in respect of five mines falling within the 'A' category of
the Bhargava Committee Report as also Category (1) of the Working Group Report
to the Calcium Carbonate Manufacturers Association for carrying out limited
mining activity to meet the essential and captive need of the Calcium Carbonate
Industry. When the main writ petitions were pending, CMP 30707/87 had been
filed for the self-same relief and it wanted to be impleaded in those two writ
petitions. The application was rejected on 30th of August, 1988, by saying:
time to time, Civil Miscellaneous Petitions had been moved and orders were
made. We do not see any justification to make any further order in such cases.
All CMPs are disposed of." Thereafter, the petitioner made another
application for the same relief 81 but the Registry did not entertain it in
view of the final order of 30th August, 1988. The present writ petition, in
these circumstances, is not maintainable. That apart, this Court had come to
the conclusion on 30th of August, 1988, that mining activity in the Doon Valley area
must ultimately stop. The Court has taken into consideration the need for
availability of minimum supply of the mineral in question and to make available
such supply, controlled and regulated mining activity has been permitted.
Mining leases are not granted by this Court and in view of the conclusion
already reached that no fresh mining activity should be carried on, we see no
justification for entertaining this writ petition.
Petition No. 25 of 1989 There is already an order that the proceeding for con-
tempt is misconceived. We do not find any justification to give any further
time for lifting or removal. The contempt petition is accordingly dismissed.
No. 9 of 1989 This application is by the Monitoring Committee appoint- ed by
this Court and the prayer is to recall the order of 19th October, 1989, and to
direct the State of Uttar Pradesh to sell the material and utilise the proceeds
for the pur- poses of reafforestation and conservation. In view of the steps we
have taken in the connected matters, no particular directions are necessary.
only other question that is left for consideration is the recommendation of the
Monitoring Committee that the payment of Rs.5 per metric ton of the extracted
material fixed by this Court in 1988 should be raised to Rs.20 per metric ton.
We have heard counsel for the parties. We have also perused the report and the
papers produced on behalf of the lessees who are still running. We are
inclined, on the materials placed, to take the view that the rate should be
enhanced to Rs. 10 from Rs.5 with effect from 1st June, 1990. Since this will
not have any retrospective effect the liability for such payment would be only
in respect of the lessees who are running by permission of the Court given in
the main judgment of August 30, 1988.
been contended by some of the lessees before us that the money which has been
collected on the basis of Rs.5 per metric ton has 82 not yet been utilised for
plantation. We hope and trust that there is no basis for the criticism but
would like to advise the Monitoring Committee to activise its steps in the
detailed report on the afforestation scheme may now be placed by the Monitoring
Committee by 30th June,
1990, for the
consideration of the Court on the 23rd July, 1990.
rehabilitation scheme which has already been fur- nished by the appropriate
Committee should now be placed before the Court for orders also on 23rd July, 1990 R.N.J. Petition dis- posed of.