A new era of jurisprudence has drawn upon the mining industry where S&A Law Offices led by Mr. Manoj K. Singh have successfully contributed in drawing of a remarkable and one of its kind judgment which will go a long way in bolstering the confidence of commercial mining entities across India who are facing hurdles at the hands of scrupulous litigants. A new path has been shown which will end the unwarranted litigation instituted only to harass and blackmail the diligent mining lease holders.
New Delhi, 01st May, 2022: S&A Law Offices led by Mr. Manoj K. Singh successfully represented and defended M/s Jindal Saw Limited in one of its kind and a path breaking matter which will go a long way in bolstering the confidence of commercial mining entities facing hurdles at the hands of scrupulous litigants. With the pronouncement of this judgment, a new era of jurisprudence has drawn upon the mining industry which has primarily been at the receiving end of unwarranted litigants drawing colossal support from appeasement politics of populist governments. Hon'ble Court has also settled that controversy related to frivolous claims being made in the name of alleged Waqf. This judgment has upheld the rule of law and lifted the veil from conspiracy to encroach public and private land shrouded in the name of a Waqf.
The bench comprising of HMJ Hemant Gupta and HMJ V. Ramasubramanian dismissed both the Civil Appeal No. 2788 of 2022 (arising out of SLP [Civil] No. 16196 of 2021) captioned as 'Waqf Board, Rajasthan Vs. Jindal Saw Limited & Ors.' with Civil Appeal No. 2789 of 2022 (arising out of SLP [Civil] No. 17334 of 2021) on the grounds that there was no merit in the Appeals.
This matter is of great relevance as the mining industry has always faced the wrath of unwarranted litigation. Even in the present case the challenge was regarding a structure on a parcel of land within the mining lease area which was claimed by the Waqf Board to be a religious structure and a Waqf property. However, the said challenge was without any documentary basis. Even the State of Rajasthan which had earlier, after following due process of law, had granted Jindal Saw Limited the right to mine on the said land, without any reason changed its position and supported the stand of the Waqf Board. Notably, the challenges were made being completely oblivious of the fact that the said structure was acting as a stumbling block in the optimal utilization of the mineral resources, necessary for overall development of the State.
Mr. Manoj K. Singh had argued before the Hon'ble High Court that the said dilapidated structure is not a religious structure at all which was reaffirmed by the findings of the High Court appointed Expert Committee. Mr. Singh had also agitated the issue that denying the lease holder an opportunity to exercise its legal rights granted under the mining lease is not only violative of the statutory mandate granted under the provision of Mines and Mineral (Development Regulation) Act 1957, but is also against the public interest at large and the idea of optimal utilization of the natural resources of the country. On the point of law, Mr. Singh argued as to what constitutes a valid Waqf and how law has developed in this regard. To constitute a valid waqf either proof of dedication or prior user has to be established. However, upon hearing the arguments of Mr. Singh when Hon'ble High Court had put the Waqf board to this test and gave an opportunity to them file relevant documents. The Waqf Board failed in doing so and also failed in even prima facie showing that disputed structure is a valid Waqf. The arguments of Waqf Tribunal having jurisdiction to decide the subject issue was also rejected by the Hon'ble High Court as Waqf Board except making baseless arguments failed to even make out a prima facie case. Similar arguments were canvassed before the Hon'ble Supreme Court. However, the same were outrightly rejected by the Courts. SC rejected all the frivolous allegations of the Waqf Board and held that the disputed structure was never constituted as valid waqf. It is not of any religious or achaeological importance. Thus, the Civil Appeals were dismissed, and the judgment of the Hon'ble High Court was upheld and confirmed.
This judgment will have far reaching consequences on the mining industry as a whole because a new path has been shown by the Supreme Court which will end the mischief litigation instituted only to harass and blackmail the diligent mining lease holders.
Senior Advocates Mr. C. S. Vaidyanathan and Mr. Ranjit Kumar, Senior Advocate assisted by S&A Law Offices team led by Mr. Manoj K. Singh, Mr. Nilava Bandyopadhyay and Mr. Anurag Abhishek appeared for Jindal Saw Limited before the Hon'ble Supreme Court. While Mr. Prashant Bhushan represented the Petitioners.