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Pure Sources represent public property; can’t be distributed if detrimental to public curiosity.

In the case of Plakkattu Granite Industries (P) Ltd v. State of Kerala, the court observed that Natural resources are constituted as public property and the state is empowered to distribute them only after ensuring that such distribution of these natural resources if not detrimental to the public interest. Additionally, the court also held that the authorities are not expected to grant or renew a quarrying lease to the person from the whom the amounts are already due to the government. This can be followed even if there is not express prohibition on granting of lease in such situations.

Facts of the Case

The petitioner files a writ petition in the High Court of Kerala wherein he challenged the demand notice issued to him by the authorities demanding the sum of Rs 5.68 crores which were due for payment of granite stones quarried by the petitioner unauthorizedly beyond the limits of the land over which they secured the quarrying lease. The first demand notice was issued in the year 2000, but due to some or the other complication, the recovery of the amount could not be made until 2018.

Opinion of the Court

The court observed that the even if there is no interdiction in the rules to renew an existing quarrying lease or grant a fresh quarrying lease in the favor of the party from whom the amounts are due to the government and even if such realization of dues is interdicted by the way of interdicted by the interim order of the court, the competent authority is not expected to make such grants without insisting the recovery of payment of the dues for granting the renewed or fresh lease. The Court also urged the government to consider appropriate measures to prevent such occurrence in future by introducing the appropriate amendments to the Rules.

For the natural resource being the public property, the court referred to the decisions made in the cases of State (NCT of Delhi) v. Sanjay and Kasturi Lal Lakshmi Reddy v. State of Jammu and Kashmir and Ors. With this, it stated that no part of the natural resources can be dissipated for private exploitation and each bit of the natural resource expended must bring back the reciprocal consideration to the state.

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