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The State of Mining in Goa

by the Goa Foundation

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The Goa’s Foundation’s legal work on mining, stretching 25 years – from 1992 – resulted in two comprehensive judgments by the Supreme Court that put an end to mining in the state of Goa. However, the Foundation pursues effective implementation of the two judgments to this day.

The first petition filed by the Goa Foundation (No.435/2012) was a comprehensive Article 32 writ petition based on the findings of the Justice M.B. Shah Commission of Enquiry into Illegal Mining in Goa. This led to the Supreme Court passing its famous order of 5th October 2012 disallowing the re-start of any mining activities in Goa and injuncting anyone in the State trading or transporting mineral ores. The order also directed the Central Empowered Committee to examine the various findings of the Justice Shah Commission and make recommendations.

For the first time since mining leases were handed out by the Portuguese in the last century, mining in Goa was brought to an abrupt end, suspending more than a decade of senseless extraction and looting which irreversibly brutalised the natural environment, destroyed the peace of village communities and damaged public health. The statutory authorities, Ministers, MLAs and other public bodies turned a blind eye or participated in the plunder and assault.

The three-judge Green Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice A.K. Patnaik passed an unprecedented judgement on the petition’s pleadings on 21.4.2014. The Court ruled all mining activity post 2007 illegal in the State.

Soon after the judgment dated 21.04.2014 was passed, the mining companies sought to circumvent the ruling of the Supreme Court by approaching the High Court of Bombay (Panaji bench) for directions to the State Government to process applications for second renewal of mining leases for which stamp duty was already paid. Although the Supreme Court had made it abundantly clear that no renewals for the then existing leases can be made, the Bombay High Court in Goa, in an unusual instance of judicial overreach, allowed the same through order dated 13.08.2014 in WP 293 of 2014. This led to the State Government granting en masse second renewals for 88 mining leases in the months of November and December 2014.

The Goa Foundation immediately appealed the order dated 13.08.2015 before the Supreme Court through SLP No. 32138 of 2015. This appeal was tagged with Writ Petition No. 711 of 2015 (which was filed by the Goa Foundation regarding the en mass second renewals granted by the State Govt.) and two related matters filed by other parties.

Finally, the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, on the 7th of February 2018, passed a detailed and conclusive judgment in the matter where it set aside the order dated 13.08.2014 and quashed all second renewals granted to mining leases.

This page documents some of the Foundation’s legal and other work on mining in Goa.

Supreme Court Petition - I

Documents relating to Writ Petition No.435/2012 filed by the Goa Foundation in September 2012 in the Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of the Constitution. The petition was heard finally across three months from September to November 2013 by the Green Bench comprising Justice A.K. Patnaik, Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla. Judgement was reserved pending submission of expert committee reports. It was delivered on 21.4.2014.

Petition documents

Shah Commission Report documents

Central Empowered Committee documents

Other Reports

Post judgement

The Supreme Court has decided not to dispose of the matters relating to WP No.435/2012 since the expert committee reports were “interim” in nature. It has therefore extended the tenure of the Expert Committee on Intergenerational Equity for a full year. It has also extended the tenure of the Expert Committee tasked with e-auction of ore stacks on or off Goa leases for a further period of six months. After the reports are filed, the matter will be listed for further orders.

In the meanwhile, the Goa Foundation has been assisting the authorities with the required information on several issues arising from the judgement. The Goa Foundation has also submitted documents on the value of illegal mining and on the Goenchi Mati Permanent Fund. These documents – and more, as they are prepared and submitted – will be posted in this section.

For more updates on the matter, follow Goa Foundation on Facebook.

Supreme Court Appeal & Petition - II

Documents relating to the following matters are available below:

i) Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No. 32138 of 2015 filed by the Goa Foundation under Article 136 of the Constitution on 19.09.2014. This appeal was filed against the order of the Bombay High Court (Panaji Bench) dated 13.08.2014.

ii) Writ Petition No. 711 of 2015 filed by the Goa Foundation in September 2015 in the Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of the Constitution on 28.09.2015. This petition was filed to challenge the en masse second renewals granted by the Government of Goa to mining leases.

Both the matters, along with two other matters, were heard together by a two judge bench comprising of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta. A detailed and conclusive judgment was delivered on 07.02.2018"

Goa: Sweet Land of Mine is a severe critique in colour of the deadly damage being caused by iron ore mining companies to Goa’s forests, wildlife, biodiversity and the ecologically sensitive region of the Western Ghats – one of the plant’s twelve most important ecological hotspots. The occasion for the book is the recent spate of ‘environment clearances’ granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for such mining leases in Goa. More than 70 such clearances have been issued to more than 70 mining leases without site inspections or listening to villagers affected by mining operations. Iron ore mining is a major threat to Goa’s very existence. Get the book and see how you can help if you are one of those who love Goa and do not want it to die.

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