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Indian Case Summary

D.K. Trivedi And Sons And Ors. Etc. … vs State Of Gujarat And Ors. Etc. Etc on 5 March, 1986 – Case Summary

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In the case of D.K. Trivedi And Sons And Ors. Etc. vs State Of Gujarat And Ors. Etc. Etc., which was decided on 5 March 1986, the Supreme Court of India was called upon to adjudicate on a matter concerning the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, and the Gujarat Minor Mineral Rules, 1966.

Facts of the Case

The petitioners, D.K. Trivedi and Sons and others, were individuals to whom the State of Gujarat had granted quarry leases and mining leases for minor minerals such as black trap, lime stones, murrum, bentonite, rubble, marble, sandstone, quartzite, etc. The Gujarat Minor Mineral Rules, 1966, were made by the Government of Gujarat under section 15 of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957. These rules, which came into force on April 1, 1966, governed all the leases in question.

Over the years, the Government of Gujarat issued several notifications amending the Gujarat Minor Mineral Rules, 1966, and altering the rates of royalty and dead rent payable under the leases. These amendments were challenged by the lessees in various writ petitions and appeals, leading to the present case.

Issues Raised

The main contention raised by the lessees was that under the proviso to section 15(3) of the 1957 Act, the rate of royalty in respect of any minor mineral could not be enhanced by the State Government more than once during any period of four years. They argued that the rate of royalty on black trap and hard murrum, having been increased by a 1974 Notification, could not be increased again in 1975.

A subsidiary contention was that the State Government had no power to classify building stones into black trap and hard murrum because by doing so, the State Government had effectively declared black trap and hard murrum as minor minerals, a power that only the Central Government possessed.

Court’s Observations

The Supreme Court held that the rule-making power conferred by section 15(1) of the 1957 Act upon the State Government was constitutional and valid, and did not amount to excessive delegation of legislative power to the executive. The Court also found that there were sufficient guidelines provided in the 1957 Act for the exercise of the rule-making power of the State Governments under section 15(1) of the 1957 Act.

The Court further held that the power to make rules conferred by section 15(1) includes the power to make rules charging dead rent and royalty. The Court reasoned that rent is an integral part of the concept of a lease and royalty connotes the payment made for the materials or minerals won from the land. Therefore, the power to make rules for regulating the grant of such leases would include the power to fix the consideration payable by the lessee to the lessor in the shape of ordinary rent or surface rent, dead rent, and royalty.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court dismissed some of the appeals and writ petitions, allowed others in part, and allowed the rest in full, based on the specific facts and circumstances of each case.