Rajasthan High Court: A Division Bench of Farjand Ali J and Sandeep Mehta JJ. directed that as and when the gypsum mining operations are opened in Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts, the petitioners shall not be entitled to apply for mining licenses for this purpose in either of these two districts.
The instant writ petition in the nature of public interest litigation seeking to initiate the process of filing application form and allotment of permit for the mining of gypsum in the districts Shriganganagar and Haumangarh along with the other districts of Rajasthan.
Counsel for petitioner submitted that on account of exclusion of Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts from grant of mining permits, a financial setback has been caused to the districts. Residents of the districts will be deprived from earning livelihood and as such, the impugned order deserves to be quashed
The Court observed that the Department of Mines and Petroleum, Government of Rajasthan received grave complaints regarding illegal mining of gypsum on the strength of the old permits from government lands, forest lands and private lands and as a consequence, vide an order it was decided to withhold grant of mining permits in these two districts subject to an inquiry.
The Court further remarked that the right to carry on mining operations is not a vested right of any citizen. The State Government has absolute dominion to decide as to the areas and manner in which the mining permits will be granted.
The Court finally observed that due to complaints received, the respondents were under a lawful obligation to defer any such activity which amounted to illegal mining. For curbing the illegal mining activities, the respondents decided to hold an inquiry and till the conclusion thereof, it was resolved not to grant mining permits in the two districts. The decision so taken was not in the nature of permanent exclusion and is contingent to the conclusion of the inquiry.
The Court thus held “we are of the firm view that the writ petition does not involve any public interest whatsoever.
….The respondents acted well within their rights and jurisdiction while provisionally withholding gypsum mining license in these two districts. It can be expected that as and when the situation improves and the illegal mining operations are detected and dealt with, the respondents would review the decision to not to issue mining licenses in these two districts.” [Kamalkant v. State of Rajasthan, D.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 4928/2022, decided on 08-04-2022]
For Petitioner(s): Mr. Rajak Khan and Mr. N.L. Joshi