Private firms can’t claim mining rights: Supreme Court

As per the latest ruling of the Apex court, Private companies cannot claim any right of exploitation of minerals and the State can impose a ban on private mining notwithstanding its being permitted earlier.

As per the court if a measure is taken to ban private mining of a single minor mineral for conserving it, such a ban, if it is otherwise within the bounds of the authority given to the government by the statute, cannot be said to involve any change of policy.

Constitutional Basis in support of the ruling:

  • As per Article 39(b) of the Directive Principles of the Constitution, the state shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as to best subserve the common good.
  • Article 39 (c) says that state should see to it that operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment.

The case was filed by several mining companies disgruntled over the withdrawal of the recommendations made by the Jharkhand govt to provide them license for mining. The proposals were rejected by the centre on the ground that subject area was under reservation and was not available for exploitation by private parties.

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