A Division Bench of Justices R. Banumathi and B. Rajendran refused to entertain the writ appeals filed by a rough stone mining company. The mining company was accused of causing a loss of over Rs.2 crore to the exchequer
The Madras High Court Bench here has dismissed a couple of writ appeals filed by a rough stone mining company challenging two show cause notices issued to it by the Tuticorin Collector in September last year for recovery of Rs.2.42 crore being the cost of mineral quarried more than the permitted limit, seignorage fee and penalty.
The Madras High Court bench refused on the ground that it was up to the appellant company to file its reply to the notices and defend itself in the enquiry to be conducted by the Collector.
The judges rejected the argument that the Collector had predetermined the issue and hence it would be a futile exercise to offer an explanation to him.
The Bench pointed out that the show cause notices had been issued after top officials of the district administration inspected the quarrying site on January 3, 2011 along with six Firka surveyors, Panchayat Land surveyors and Padmanabamangalam Village Administrative Officer.
The manager of the mining firm, Siva Blue Metals, was also present during the inspection.
After measuring the pits in the leased out site, the inspection concluded that the appellant company had quarried 3,39,480 cubic meters of minerals, which was against the permission granted to it to mine 2,61,131 cubic meters.
Therefore, it concluded that the company was liable to pay the cost of mineral, seignorage fee as well as penalty for a difference of 78,349 cubic meters or 27,685 units.
Writing the judgement for the Bench, Mr. Justice Rajendran held that the Collector was fully empowered to issue show cause notices and recover the charges from all those who remove minerals unlawfully.