PANAJI: A division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice Sandeep Shinde and Justice R. N. Ladda today dismissed a batch of several writ petitions filed by former mining lease holders challenging an order issued by the Goa government dated 4.5.2022 directing them to vacate their leases within one month (by 6.6.2022).
As the order could not be stayed, it came into effect on 6.6.2022. However, a large number of former lease holders filed petitions.
Though the judgment is yet to be uploaded, it appears that the division bench could not accept any of the arguments made by the lease holders on why they should not be asked to vacate their leases.
The order dated 4.5.2022 was issued pursuant to a specific direction of the Supreme Court that the Goa government use its powers (granted under Rule 12(1)(hh) of the Mineral Concession Rules, 2016) for the purpose of recovering the leased areas.
Arguments on these writ petitions stretched over 6 weeks (with one day per week devoted almost exclusively to the case).
The Advocate General of the State, Devidas Pangam, put up a spectacular performance defending the present policy of the government in issuing the impugned order dated 4.5.2022. Adv. Norma Alvares argued for the Goa Foundation, the other respondent in these petitions.
Earlier, in October 2021, the Goa Foundation had already filed a writ petition against the Goa government demanding such an order be issued in the context of specific directions of the Supreme Court of India. The petition succeeded when the government issued the order.