The State of Mining in Goa
by the Goa Foundation
The Goa’s Foundation’s legal work on mining, stretching 20 years – from 1992 – culminated in a comprehensive Article 32 writ petition filed by it in the Supreme Court of India in 2012. The Foundation based its petition on the findings of the Justice M.B. Shah Commission of Enquiry into Illegal Mining in Goa.
The petition (No.435/2012) 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.
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.
This is the text of the main writ petition on Goa mining and its perverse environmental impacts, filed incorporating several of the findings of the Justice Shah Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Mining in Goa.
The Goa government filed a detailed response to the main challenges raised in the writ petition.
The Ministry of Environment & Forests filed two affidavits on the charges set out in the writ petition. The affidavits did not rebut any of the charges raised.
The Ministry of Mines filed a formal counter, denying most of the averments made in the petition.
The Goa Foundation, writ petitioner, filed a detailed rejoinder to the counter affidavit of the Goa government. The Goa government filed a sur-rejoinder.
Additional affidavits and written submissions filed by the Goa Foundation in the matter.
Copy of the written submissions made by the CEC during the hearings.
CENTRAL EMPOWERED COMMITTEE DOCUMENTS
The Chief Secretary, Goa government, made a detailed written representation to the Central Empowered Committee.
The Central Empowered Committee visited Goa, conducted a public hearing with stakeholders including petitioner and thereafter filed its report in 5 volumes on 7.12.2012
SUPREME COURT COMMITTEE ON INTERGENERATIONAL EQUITY
The “Interim” Report of the 6-member Expert Committee on Intergenerational Equity appointed by the Supreme Court during the hearing of the petition.
SUBMISSIONS AND DOCUMENTS RELATING TO ISSUE OF INTERGENERATIONAL EQUITY (IE) AND GOA MINERAL ORE EXTRACTION AND SALE
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS (ABOVE):
Notification setting up the Vishwanath Anand Expert Appraisal Committee on Environment Clearances issued for mining in Goa.
Principal findings of the Vishwanath Anand Expert Appraisal Committee.
The “Interim” Report of the 3-member Expert Committee on E-Auction of Ore, appointed by the Supreme Court during the hearing of the petition
SUPREME COURT’S ORDERS IN WP NO.435/2012
SUPREME COURT PETITION - II
No sooner did the ink dry on the Supreme Court’s judgement dated 21.4.2014, within days, 28 mining lease holders moved a writ petition before the Bombay High Court, at Goa, demanding orders for second renewals of their leases on specious grounds (payment of stamp duty). Amazingly, the High Court agreed to their plea. It directed the Goa government to renew the mining leases. The Goa Foundation had not been made a party in the writ petitions before the High Court. Nevertheless, since the Government of Goa, always in collusion with miners, refused to appeal the High Court’s order, the Goa Foundation filed an appeal against it in the Supreme Court in October 2014 (SLP No.32138/2015)
Before the SLP could be taken up in the Supreme Court, the Goa government – from November 2014 till 12 January 2015 – issued 88 orders granting second renewal to mining leases in the state, disregarding the explicit directions of the Supreme Court issued on 21.4.2014. These 88 lease renewals were challenged by the Goa Foundation in September 2015 in the Supreme Court of India through Writ Petition No.711/2015 under Article 32 of the Constitution.Both the appeal and the writ petition were heard finally across two months from October to November 2017 by the Green Bench comprising Justice MadanLokur and Justice Deepak Gupta. Judgement was delivered on 07.2.2018. The Supreme Court cancelled all the 88 orders granting second renewal. They also set aside the Bombay High Court order of 13.8.2014. The documents in this section relate to the appeal and the writ petition challenging the grant of second renewal.
1. WRIT PETITION 293/2014 (PDF)& 27 OTHER PETITIONS
This is the text of the writ petition filed by M/s Sesa Sterlite in the Bombay High Court pleading their leases should be renewed on the grounds that they have paid stamp duty as requested by the Goa Government (promissory estoppel). 27 other petitions along similar lines were also filed including WP No.210/2014 (Lithoferro)
BOMBAY HIGH COURT’S JUDGEMENT IN WP NO.210/2014
This is the text of the appeal filed by the Goa Foundation against the judgement of the Bombay High Court dated 13.8.2014 that had ordered the Government of Goa to grant second renewal of mining leases to 28 former lease-holders.
This is the text of the writ petition filed by the Goa Foundation challenging the orders
passed by the Goa government granting second renewal of mining leases to 88 former
6) Goa Govt Reply (PDF)
The Goa government filed a detailed response to the main challenges raised in the
appeal and the writ petition.
SUPREME COURT’S JUDGEMENT IN SLP NO.32138 AND WP NO.711/2015
GOA MINING SUPREME COURT- III
The Supreme Court in its judgement dated 7.2.2018 in Writ Petition No.711/2018 had granted time till March 15, 2018 for closure of all mining operations in Goa. However, since miners began to manipulate circumstances and commenced transport of ore after March 15, 2018, the Goa Foundation moved the Bombay High Court at Goa with a PIL challenging such movement and insisting for a Court declaration that all ores in the State of Goa post 15.3.2018 belonged to the Government and people of the State. The High Court agreed with the Goa Foundation. Miners and traders went in appeal. Those appeals were decided by the Supreme Court by its order dated 30.1.2020. The documents in this segment relate to these matters.
This is the text of the writ petition filed by the Goa Foundation challenging transport of mineral orders in the State of Goa after March 15, 2018.
This is the text of the counter affidavit filed by the Goa Foundation challenging the Chougule Civil Appeal.
The Goa government filed a detailed response to the main challenges raised in the appeal and the writ petition.
SUPREME COURT’S JUDGEMENT IN CA 839/2020
GOA MINING IN SUPREME COURT- IV
After all legal avenues for recovery of their leases had dried up, Vedanta Ltd moved a fresh writ petition No.1005/2019 before the Bombay High Court in November 2019, demanding a declaration that its mining lease, as per the provisions of the amended MMDR Act 2015, was valid for 50 years. It also attempted to persuade the High Court that the Goa Abolition Act of 1987 commenced from 23.5.1987 and not from 20.12.1961 (which is the appointed day given in the Act itself). The High Court threw out the petition in one week. Vedanta Ltd moved the Supreme Court in appeal (SLP No.29211/2019). In both instances, Vedanta did not make the Goa Foundation a party respondent, though it was seeking to bypass directions given by the Supreme Court in Goa Foundation I and Goa Foundation II judgements. The Supreme Court, faced with an application filed by the Goa Foundation for impleadment, passed an order allowing the Foundation as a respondent. The matter is pending adjudication. Documents in this section deal with these matters.
This is the text of the writ petition filed by Vedanta Ltd before the Bombay High Court at Goa, demanding their lease is valid for 50 years.○
BOMBAY HIGH COURT’S ORDER IN WP NO.1005/2019
This is the text of the appeal filed by Vedanta Ltd against the Bombay High Court judgement dated 26.11.2019.
Goa Mining V Lokayukta
Immediately after the Supreme Court cancelled the grant of second renewal to 88 mining leases, the Goa Foundation took a decision to file a corruption complaint against the three government officials responsible for granting them. These included the then Chief Minister, Laxmikant Parsenkar, Pawan Kumar Sains, Secretary (Mines) and Mr Prasanna Acharya, Director of Mines & Geology. After a year of investigations, the Hon’ble Lokayuktha admitted the complaint, and filed a detailed report to the Goa government. The report recommended registration of an FIR and investigation by the CBI, and removal of the officers concerned as they were persons “unfit to hold public office.”
- Press Note On Illegal Mining And Exports From Goa: 43% Of Ore Exported In 2010-2011 Was Illegally Extracted (12.1.2012)
- Goa Foundation With Others Releases Suggestions On Draft Goa Mining Policy 2012
- Goa Foundation Condemns Reopening Of Jairam Neogi Mine By Dinar Tarcar At Caurem
- Illegal Mining Crisis Created By Mine Owners And Mining Companies: Only They Should Be Held Accountable For The Consequences Of Closure (23 November 2011)
- Goa Pollution Control Board Issues Show Cause To 45 Mines For Suspension Of Mining Operations
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.