SC Allows OMDC’s Plea for Condonation of Delay in Payment of Compensation to Odisha

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In the case of Common Cause v. Union of India on 11 August 2020, the Supreme Court granted OMDC condonation of delay. This delay was in connection with the payment of compensation to the State of Odisha given a mining lease.

Brief Facts of the Case

The applicant here is the Orissa Minerals Development Company Limited or OMDC. They have filed many applications in the Court. Since all them pertain to the same issue, the Court will dispose of them via a common order. The applications are about a specific mining lease in favour of the company.

The applicants were late in making payment as per an order of the Court pronounced on 02.08.2017. This order directed the applicants to pay compensation to the state on or before 31.12.2020. But, the applicant failed to meet the deadline.

This current application seeks condonation of that delay in payment. One of the applications also sought a direction to the state to conduct a joint verification. This would be of undisputed stock so that the sale of the same can be allowed. The applicants asked for permission to resume mining operation given the payment has been made.

Arguments of the Parties

The state replied to the applications stating that the compensation has been paid by the applicants. This payment was made under Section 21(5) of the M.M.D.R Act of 1957. The interest amount has also been paid.

Court’s Observations

The Court opined that they find it “expedient” to condone the delay keeping in mind that the compensation with the interest amount has been paid. The Court took noted of the submissions made by Solicitor General. Based on them, the Court remarked that the State has acknowledged the receipt of the payment.

Court’s Order

This matter was decided by a three-judge bench headed by Hon’ble CJI S.A. Bobde. The Court decided to give the following relief:

  1. The delay in payment of the compensation along with interest is condoned;
  2. The Applicant OMDC be permitted to resume mining operations subject to all necessary clearances required by law being obtained;
  3. The Competent Officers of the State of Orissa must also conduct a joint verification of the undisposed stock and allow the sale of the same by the Applicant OMDC on following due procedure.

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