The High Court of Karnataka has upheld the order of the Department of Mines and Geology prohibiting sand extraction from rivers during rainy season. It observed that the ban was incorporated into the law for protecting the environment.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj passed the order while rejecting a petition filed Fakkirappa M. Murgod, who had a lease for sand extraction in Chamarajanagar district for a period of five years from August 10, 2017.
The petitioner had questioned the decision of the Deputy Director, Department of Mines and Geology, Chamarajanagar, prohibiting sand extraction from June 5 to October 15 every year. The petitioner contended that his mining lease did not contain a condition of sand extraction being prohibited during monsoon.
However, the Bench agreed with the contention of the government that the Karnataka Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1994, and the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016, clearly prohibit river sand mining during rainy season.
The court also pointed out that the legislature was conscious of the fact that the period of actual quarrying operations could be affected by rains or floods, and had therefore provided the sand quarrying permission for up to five years, inclusive of the non-quarrying periods such as rainy season, floods, and natural calamities. In Karnataka, the period between June 5 and October 15 is considered rainy season, the Bench noted.