“The Supreme Court Clarifies Exceptions to Section 10A(1) of the MMDR Act, Rendering Certain Mining Lease Applications Received Before January 12, 2015, Ineligible”


In a significant judicial interpretation, the Supreme Court has provided clarity regarding the exceptions enshrined in Section 10-A (1) of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act). This particular section stipulates that all mining lease applications received prior to January 12, 2015, would be rendered ineligible. However, the Supreme Court has emphasized that the exceptions carved out within this provision are pivotal for a nuanced understanding of the law’s intent.

The Court has underscored that the objective behind the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, is to strike a balance between environmental concerns and the utilization of natural resources. The exceptions within Section 10-A (1) are instrumental in achieving this balance, allowing certain applications received before the specified date to remain eligible, provided they adhere to the stipulated conditions.

This ruling clarifies the critical role played by exceptions within the legislative framework, ensuring that while there is a cutoff date for mining lease applications, the law acknowledges unique circumstances and scenarios that may warrant exceptions for the overall benefit of the nation. It reflects a judicious approach to resource management, seeking to reconcile developmental needs with ecological considerations, and underscores the court’s commitment to interpreting laws in a manner that serves the greater public interest.

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