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Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited Vs. Director of Mines & Geology, Government of Karnataka and Ors. - (High Court of Karnataka) (18 Jun 2019)

Power of rejection or refusal can be exercised by State Government after giving an opportunity of being heard

MANU/KA/3927/2019

Mines and Minerals

The challenge in present petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is to the order passed by the first Respondent which has been confirmed by the second Respondent by order. By order dated 29th May 2013, the first Respondent rejected the application made by the Petitioner for renewal of prospecting licence. On the earlier date, a submission was canvassed across the bar that the said order was passed by the first Respondent without giving an opportunity of being heard to the Petitioner as required by sub-rule (1) of Rule 12 of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960

The Rule Making Authority has chosen to specifically provide that, the power of rejection or refusal can be exercised by the State Government after giving an opportunity of being heard. Narrow interpretation put by the second Respondent that 'opportunity of being heard' may not be necessarily 'opportunity of being personally heard' cannot be accepted.

The words 'after giving an opportunity of being heard' were inserted by the amendment dated 2nd May 1979. Earlier sub-rule (1) of Rule 12 simply provided that, the State Government may, for reasons to be recorded in writing and communicated to the applicant, refuse to grant or renew prospecting licence. Therefore, the Rule Making Authority has added the aforesaid words which clearly imply that, the intention was to provide an opportunity of being heard as the rights of the applicant are affected if the application for grant or refusal of prospecting licence is rejected.

In writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, Court is examining the decision making process adopted by the Respondents. If there is a clear breach of the rules of natural justice in contravention of the express provision in Rule 12(1) committed by the Respondent, the said error will have to be corrected as it is a very serious flaw in the decision making process adopted by the first respondent. The revisional authority has gone to the extent of holding that an opportunity of being heard does not include personal hearing.

Both the impugned orders are quashed and set aside and the application made by the petitioner for renewal of prospecting licence is remanded to the first respondent. The first respondent shall pass appropriate order in accordance with law on the renewal application after giving an opportunity of personal hearing to the Petitioner.

Tags : PERSONAL HEARING   OPPORTUNITY   ENTITLEMENT  

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