The Supreme Court cancelled the renewal of 88 mining leases given in Goa in 2015. The Court has ordered that licenses must be granted anew through a fresh process of bidding. These renewals were in fact done for the second time and were supposed to be valid until March 15th.
The bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur stated the reason behind the cancellation was a violation of the legislature. A public interest litigation (PIL) had been filed by the Goa Foundation in 2015 that raised questions on the renewal of the leases.
The Court also asked that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) be set up to determine the money that had been earned by the companies since the renewal of the licenses. Prashant Bhushan, who was representing the plaintiff said that the state policy was not in alliance with the apex court’s policy on optimum usage of natural resources.
The state government should have ideally held a fresh bidding as opposed to renewing the licenses a second time. “The second renewal of the mining leases granted by the State of Goa was unduly hasty, without taking all the relevant material into consideration and ignoring available relevant information and therefore not in the interests of mineral development,” it stated.