Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ownership of minerals vests with owner of land: SC

The Supreme Court has said that ownership of minerals should be vested with the owner of the land & not with the government. A three-judge bench, headed by R M Lodha has said that there was no law in the country which declared that the state was the owner of sub-soil or mineral wealth. They are of the opinion that there is nothing in the law which declares that all sub- oil mineral wealth rights vest in the state. On the other hand, the ownership of sub-soil/mineral wealth should normally follow the ownership of the land, unless the owner of the land is deprived of the same by some valid process. Referring to various Acts regulating extraction of underground natural resources, the Bench said the laws did not anywhere declare the proprietary right of the state. It rejected the argument that individual owners could not claim any proprietary right on the sub-soil resources as Section 425 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, prohibited carrying out of any mining activity in this country except in accordance with a permit, license or mining lease.

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