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State’s Posco plea trips in SC

New Delhi, Dec. 6: The Supreme Court today refused to stay for now an Orissa High Court judgment cancelling the state’s decision to grant a prospective iron ore mining licence to Posco at the Kandadhar mines in Sundergarh district.

The apex court directed all parties involved in the case to maintain status quo and also issued notices in the matter to the Union of India.

The state government, through senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, had sought an immediate stay on the high court order that could jeopardise Posco’s plans to set up a steel plant in the state.

The licence would have empowered Posco to explore and mine the Kandadhar hills for iron ore.

But a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik, refused to immediately stay the high court order.

The Orissa counsel said the high court order had affected all licences in the state. Senior counsels Harish Salve and K.K. Venugopal appeared in the case for Geomin Minerals and Marketing (P) Ltd and Posco, respectively.

The high court had held that all mineral-bearing land reserved by the state for exploitation in the public sector, without the Centre’s approval, prior to February 10, 1987, would be deemed to have never been reserved at all.

This was the year when the Central Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation Act), 1957, was enacted.

The Orissa government had on October 29, 2010, moved the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s July 14 order cancelling the prospective iron ore mining license to Posco.

Two other special leave petitions were also filed later by Posco and Geomin against the high court order.

Acting on a petition filed by Bhubaneswar-based company Geomin, the high court had directed that the licence recommended by the state in 2009 be cancelled. The court also held that Geomin should have a preferential right of being considered for the licence as it had applied for it way back in 1991. Posco had applied only in 2005 and had got the license, Geomin had said.

The state government had recommended to the Centre that the prospective licence be granted to Posco.

Geomin had challenged this as “illegal” and “irrational”.

An appeal was filed on the state’s behalf through counsel Shibashish Mishra against the decision of the high court. The state had made Geomin, Posco and the Union parties in the petition.

The state petition claimed that its recommendation that the licence be awarded to Posco over earlier applicants did not violate the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

The high court had struck down the state’s decision as violative of Section 11 (5) of the Act for failing to record special reason why Posco, who applied for it last, should get the licence out of turn.

The state petition claimed that it had additionally considered Posco’s application under Section 11 (3) that empowers it to look into the special knowledge and experience of parties applying for licences, financial resources, nature and quality of technical staff employed and the investment it proposes to make in the mine or industry while deciding in its favour.

Arnab subbing

Apex court refuses to stay HC’s Posco order

Samanwaya Rautray

New Delhi, Dec. 6: The Supreme Court today refused to stay for now an Orissa High Court judgement cancelling the state’s decision to grant a prospective iron ore mining licence to Posco at the Kandadhar mines in the state’s Sundergarh district.

The apex court directed all parties to the case to maintain status quo and issued notices in the matter to the Union of India.

The state, through senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, had sought an immediate stay on the high court order, which could jeopardise Posco’s plans to set up a steel plant in the state.

The licence would have empowered Posco to explore and mine the Kandadhar hills for iron ore. But a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik, refused to immediately stay the high court order.

The Orissa counsel said that the high court order had affected all licences in the state. Senior counsels Harish Salve and K.K. Venugopal appeared in the case for Geomin Minerals and Marketing (P) Ltd and Posco respectively.

The high court had held that all mineral-bearing land reserved by the state for exploitation in the public sector, without the Centre’s approval, prior to February 10, 1987, would be deemed to have never been reserved at all.

This was the year when the Central Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation Act), 1957, was enacted.

The Orissa government had, on Oct 29, 2010, moved the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s July 14 order cancelling the prospective iron ore mining license to Posco. Two other special leave petitions were also filed later by Posco and Geomin against the high court order.

Acting on a petition filed by Bhubaneswar-based company Geomin, the high court had directed that the licence recommended by the state in 2009 be cancelled. The court also held that Geomin should have a preferential right of being considered for the licence as it had applied for it way back in 1991. Posco had applied only in 2005 and had got the license, Geomin had said.

The state government had recommended to the Centre that the prospective licence be granted to Posco. Geomin had challenged this as “illegal” and “irrational”.

An appeal was filed on the state’s behalf through counsel Shibashish Mishra against the Orissa High Court decision. The state had made Geomin, Posco and the Union parties in the petition.

The state petition claimed that its recommendation that the licence be awarded to Posco over earlier applicants did not violate the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.

The high court had struck down the state’s decision as violative of Section 11 (5) of the Act for failing to record special reason why Posco, who applied for it last, should get the licence out of turn.

The state petition claimed that it had additionally considered Posco’s application under Section 11 (3) which empowers it to look into the special knowledge and experience of parties applying for licences, financial resources, nature and quality of technical staff employed and the investment it proposes to make in the mine or industry while deciding it its favour.

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