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M/S R.B. Sone Products Pvt. Ltd. v. State Of U.P. And Others - WRIT - C No. 62857 of 2006  RD-AH 21659 (22 December 2006)
Civil Misc.Writ Petition No. 62857 of 2006
M/s R.B.Stone Products Pvt.Ltd.
State of Uttar Pradesh through its Principal Secretary, Forest,
Councils House, Lucknow and others
Hon.Shishir Kumar, J.
The present writ petition has been filed for quashing the order-dated 27.9.2006 (Annexure 14 to the writ petition) passed by the respondent No.2. Further issuing a writ of certiorari quashing the Condition Nos.6,8, 9 and 20 of the No Objection Certificate dated 21.8.2006 (Annexures 7 to the writ petition). Further issuing a writ in the nature of mandamus directing the respondents to renew the lease deed of the petitioner on the basis of No Objection Certificate dated 21.8.2006 issued by the respondent no.2 without giving effect of the condition Nos.6, 8, 9 and 20 of No Objection Certificate. Further it has been prayed for refund of the amount of cash security to the tune of Rs.2 lacs.
The facts arising out of the present writ petition are that the petitioner is a lessee for excavation of boulders of Plot /Arazi Nos. 3981, 3983 to 3986 comprising area of 4.10 acres situated at village Markundi, Pargana Agori, Tehsil Robertsganj, District Sobebhadra for a period of 10 years with effect from 17.6.1996 to 16.06.2006. The lease has expired on 16.06.2006 hence the petitioner moved an application for renewal of its lease deed six months prior to expiry of the aforesaid lease in pursuance of Rule 6-A of the U.P. Minor Minerals (Concessions) Rules, 1963. The application was pending. In the meantime, the District Magistrate, Sonbehadra directed the respondent No.2 in respect of issuance of No Objection Certificate. The petitioner's Company was in accordance with the provision of Companies Act and also registered under the Uttar Pradesh Trade Tax and Central Sales Tax Act. Crusher to crush the stones and boulders after excavation has been installed by the petitioner for crushing the excavated minerals that is stone and boulders at Plot No.3924 which is situated at a distance of 4 to 5 kilometers from the excavation site of the lease deed. The aforesaid plot is a bhumidhari land of the petitioner. The petitioner was granted permission under Rule 9 of the Rules for crushing the boulders or minerals and for its storage at Plot No.3924 comprising area 3 bigha 8 biswa and has been permitted to store 25,000 cum boulders (dolo Stone) at the said plot. The crushing site of the petitioner on Plot No.3924 had been in existence since 1996 and Prapatra B under Rule 9 of the Rules, 1963 had always been issued by the District Magistrate after every two years. The excavated minerals from the excavation site of the lease deed of the petitioner has always been brought and stored during continuance of its lease at crusher's site on Plot No.3924 and at no point of time there was no objection raised by the District Magistrate or by the forest authorities in this respect. The Ranger Kaimoor Wildlife Gurma, Mirzapur vide its letter dated 25.4.2005 issued recommendation to the respondent No.2 for issuance of No Objection Certificate for renewal of the lease deed of the petitioner. Admittedly, the plots in question for which the petitioner has been granted lease are not forest land under section 4 of the Forest Act and also not within the radius of 100 meters of the forest land, hence considering the entire aspects, the respondent No.2 issued No Objection Certificate vide its letter dated 21.8.2006 on certain terms and conditions. A copy of the same has been filed as Annexure 7 to the writ petition.
It has been submitted that the Condition Nos. 6, 8, 9 and 20 mentioned in the No Objection Certificate dated 31.8.2006 is highly arbitrary and unreasonable. The petitioner objected to it regarding the conditions laid down in the said No Objection Certificate. It has further been stated that the petitioner has been discriminated and in the similar circumstances No Objection Certificate has been granted to another lessee and no such conditions have been imposed. According to Condition No.20 of the No Objection Certificate the respondent No.2 has provided for depositing Rs. 1 lac cash security for issuance of No Objection Certificate and has actually taken cash security of Rs.2 lacs from the petitioner, which is apparent by the letter dated 21.8.2006. The objection was filed by the petitioner regarding the condition imposed as mentioned above. No decision was taken, then the petitioner filed a writ petition before this Court as Writ Petition No.49981 of 2006 which was finally disposed of by this Court vide its order dated 11.9.2006 directing the respondents to pass appropriate orders. The respondent No.2 had passed an order dated 27.9.2006 though within a period of two weeks as directed by the Hon'ble Court, but the said order was signed by him on 4th November 2006. A copy of the same has been filed as Annexure 14 to the writ petition. The aforesaid order dated 27.9.2006 was received along with a letter dated 4.11.2006 by the petitioner on 6.11.2006 though it has been stated in the letter dated 4.11.2006 by the respondent No.2 that prior to dispatching of the aforesaid letter the order has already been sent to the petitioner.
It has been submitted by the petitioner that prior to the aforesaid order, the respondents have not afforded any opportunity to the petitioner. The order dated 27.9.2006 has been passed by the respondent No.2 mentioning wrong fact in respect of alleged illegal mining / excavation of stone/boulders on Mauraiya Pahari. It has been submitted by the petitioner that on Mauraiya Pahari, there is a lease of one M/s Salkhan Lime Works, which is a partnership firm of Rakesh Kumar Gupta, Managing Director of the petitioner, is one of the partners. The further submission has been made by the petitioner that the order dated 6.7.2006 the petitioner may get excavated stones and boulders from Mauraiya Pahari of M/s Salkhan Lime Works to the crushers of M/s R.B. Stones, installed and situated at arazi No.3924 where the petitioner's crusher is installed, as the petitioner has already been granted license under Rule 9 for storage of stones and boulders from the crusher site. It has further been stated that the petitioner has been issued Form MM-11 for transporting minerals by orders dated 17.5.2005 and 13.4.2006 by the authorities acting under the U.P. Minor Minerals (Concession ), Rules 1963. The condition which has been mentioned in No Objection Certificate is absolutely fabricated and concocted. Had there been any misuse of Form MM-11, it would have been caught at the barrier and the vehicles would have been seized under the provision of Forest Act, but no such incident has been reported against the petitioner. As regards the Condition No.8 is concerned the petitioner submits that the crusher is situated about a distance of 2 kilometers at arazi No.3924 under a valid license. The goods excavated by Salkhan Lime Works has also been permitted to transport their minerals for crushing at the said crushing site of the petitioner. As regards, the Condition No.9 of the No Objection Certificate is concerned the same is only to harsh the petitioner. As the petitioner has already been granted a license for storage of minerals excavated at the site of lease deed, therefore, the said condition cannot be imposed.
As the condition No.20 of the No Objection Certificate is concerned, even after objection of the petitioner, Rs. 2 lac has been taken by the respondents. In such a way the petitioner submits that condition laid down in the No Objection Certificate is arbitrary and only to harsh the petitioner. In spite of the order passed by this Court, the respondents vide its order dated 27.9.2006 have not considered the submissions made on behalf of the petitioner and has rejected the claim of the petitioner and held that the conditions which have been laid in the No Objection Certificate, is correct. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order, the petitioner has approached this Court by means of the present writ petition.
The respondents were granted time to file a counter affidavit. Counter and rejoinder affidavits have already been exchanged, as such, with the consent of the parties, the writ petition is being disposed of finally at the admission stage.
Smt.Sarita Singh, learned Standing Counsel has submitted that the order passed by the respondents and putting certain conditions have been made only to restrict the illegal mining. In Para 21 of the counter affidavit, it has been stated that the petitioner was having knowledge regarding the order dated 27.9.2006 without stating this fact the earlier writ petition was filed and the petitioner has obtained an order. It has further been submitted that it is apparent from the averment made in the writ petition that the petitioner as well as the M/s Salkhan Lime Works are being operated by one and same family and the arazi No. 685-Ga, which is a bhumidhari land of the petitioner, on the basis of lease they were involved in the illegal mining at arazi No.2186 which is also hill area and that comes under the area of sanctury and on the basis of the report submitted by the department to the State Government, the renewal application of M/s Salkhan Lime Works has been rejected and they have filed a writ petition and obtained some orders from the High Court. In Para 25 of the counter affidavit it has also been stated that once the boulder is crushed in the form of gitti then it will be very difficult to recognize that whether that gitti is lime stone or ordinary stone. Taking into consideration all these facts, Condition Nos. 6, 8, 9 and 20 have been put under the No Objection Certificate. In one place the petitioner has stated that arazi No.3924 is 4-5 kilometers though in paragraph 35 it has been stated that it is only 2 kilometers but the fact is that from the excavation site it is 5 kilometers. It has also been found and reported that the petitioner do not excavated the mineral from the site allotted to him and from the Salkhan Forest Areas. He excavate the boulders and on the permit of R.B.Stone, they transport it. In such situation, the aforesaid conditions have been put. As regards the Condition No.20 regarding Rs. 2 lacs, it has been submitted that it was by mistake 1 lac has been mentioned and as soon as that mistake comes to the knowledge, that has been rectified.
The Learned Standing Counsel has further submitted that from the perusal of the conditions of No Objection Certificate, it is clear that if a lease holder is doing valid mining according to the terms and conditions there cannot be any objection but as the petitioner is involved in illegal mining and there was various complaints to this effect, therefore, while renewal the conditions have been put for the said purposes, as such, it cannot be said that the same is arbitrary in nature.
We have heard Sri C.L.Pandey, learned counsel for the petitioner and Smt.Sarita Singh, learned Standing Counsel for the respondents and have perused the record.
From the record, it is clear that R.B.Stones i.e. the petitioner and M/s Salkhan Lime Works belonging to one and the same person. Sri Rakesh Kumar Gupta is the partner and in one he is the Managing Director. It has also been noted from the record that there were certain complaints in previous orders. M/s Salkhan Lime Works Pvt. Ltd. was involved in illegal mining, therefore, the renewal application has been rejected by the authorities, though he has obtained an interim order by this Court. Taking into consideration all the facts, while granting No Objection Certificate by the Forest Department of stopping illegal mining lease, a condition to this effect has been put in the No Objection Certificate dated 21.8.2006. As regards, the Condition No.6, the same cannot be put by the respondents as it is the responsibility of the Forest Department to install a barrier and to keep employees for the purposes of stopping the illegal mining. As regards, the condition No.8, the only condition has been put in the No Objection Certificate that the petitioner will always show the relevant documents regarding his lease as and when required to be inspected by the Forest Department. The Condition No.9 relates to that if any time any amendment is made then the Forest Department will be at liberty to amend the conditions or to abolish the said condition. As regards, the Condition No.20, the said condition has been imposed upon the petitioner only to maintain the forest as the Apex Court has already directed the Government to preserve the forest area and not to change the nature of the forest. In such a way the aforesaid condition has been put that the petitioner will put 100 trees on the Gaon Sabha land or the land belonging to the petitioner and for that purpose some amount as security in the nature of Fixed Deposit or National Saving Certificate have to be deposited by the petitioner before the Forest Officer and in case, the petitioner does not fulfill the requirement of Clause 20 the amount as security deposited by the petitioner will be forfeited or some action be taken against the petitioner.
After considering the submission made on behalf of the parties, we are of the view that only Condition No.6 appears to be arbitrary as it is the total duty of the Forest Department to put a barrier and employ the employees for the said purposes. Rest of the conditions made in the No Objection Certificate, we think that is proper and cannot be said to be arbitrary.
In view of the aforesaid fact, the writ petition is partly allowed to the extent that the respondents will not impose the Condition No.6 upon the petitioner, which has been given in the No Objection Certificate. Rest of the conditions may remain same.
There shall be no order as to costs.
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