Orissa HC: Police cannot register case under Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act

The New Indian Express | July 12, 2019

As per records, a case related to seizure of iron ore lumps was registered at Koira police station under Section 21 of the MMDR Act and Section 379 of the IPC in June, 2010.

CUTTACK: In a significant judgement, the Orissa High Court has ruled that police can only register a case of mineral theft under relevant Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections and not under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR).

A single judge bench of Justice AK Mishra has also ruled that a magistrate court can proceed on cases related to mineral theft only when the complaint is made before it in writing by the competent authority or an officer of the central or state government.

Justice Mishra has quashed the Bonai SDJM Court’s August 12, 2010 order that had taken cognizance of the case registered by the police under Section 21 of MMDR Act.

As per records, a case related to seizure of iron ore lumps was registered at Koira police station under Section 21 of the MMDR Act and Section 379 of the IPC in June, 2010. After investigation, police filed charge sheet and the SDJM, Bonai took cognizance of the case and issued process against the accused persons in August, 2010.

The accused had challenged the process initiated against them by the SDJM court in the High Court in September 2010. The case had since been given 14 dates for hearing till it was disposed of on July 9. The court has, however, allowed the proceeding to continue against the accused persons under Section 370 of the IPC.

It has also made clear that police can proceed to deal with cases of theft of minerals under IPC.

Notice to Government on SC/ST quota circular:

The Orissa High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Higher Education department to show cause under what circumstances it had issued notification to state universities specifying that reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will not be applicable for the posts of professors and associate professors.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice BR Sarangi issued the show cause notice (returnable by a short date) on a petition filed by Dhananjay Soren and others. The petition challenged a notification of the Higher Education department issued on June 21 giving the go-ahead signal to state universities for recruitment of teachers.

The petitioners had also challenged the advertisement of Sambalpur University issued on July 2 on the basis of the notification inviting applications keeping all the posts of Professor and Associate Professor unreserved.

Justice Sarangi allowed Sambapur University to go ahead with the selection process but not give any appointment without leave of the Court. The June 21 notification of Higher Education department has been challenged on the ground of jurisdiction.

The SC and ST Development department is empowered to issue circular or notification regarding reservation in the field of employment in Odisha. Besides, the notification also violates the University Grants Commission guidelines, the petition alleged.