The Centre today told the Karnataka High Court that States are empowered to check illegal mining and conduct searches on illegal stock yards.
This was stated in an affidavit filed in response to a petition by 22 mines owners of Karnataka challenging the recent ban on iron ore exports imposed by the State government.
The Centre submitted that full powers had been delegated to the States to frame their own rules to curb illegal mining under section 23 (c) of the MMRDC Act.
States are also authorised to conduct searches on illegal mining storage places, the affidavit said, rejecting the petitioners contention that the State government had no powers to ban iron ore exports.
The reasons for empowering the state governments for prevention of illegal mining could be due to the fact that the nature and magnitude of problem of illegal mining vary from State to State and moreover, the minerals wealth vests with the State governments, the affidavit said.
The State governments may by issue of notification in the official gazette make rules for preventing illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals, it said vindicating the BJP government’s measures initiated in this regard.
After taking on record the affidavit, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice Abdul Nazir adjourned further hearing.
V S Lad and Company and 21 others have challenged the BJP government’s decision of banning iron ore export.