The Coal Mines (Special Provision) Act, 2015

The Act no. 11 of 2015 i.e. the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act was enacted in the year 2015 by the Parliament of India with the object to make provisions to allocate the Coal mines and to vest the right, title and interest in and over the land mine infrastructure along with the mining leases for successful bidders and allottees. And this is with the view to ensure continuation in the coal mining operations and production of coal and also with the purpose of production of coal and to promote optimum utilisation of coal resources consistent with the requirement of country in national interest. Thus, the present Act was enacted in furtherance of the Judgement of the honourable Apex Court of 2014, where, it had ordered cancellation of the allocation of coal blocks and also directed the Centre to take immediate action for implementation of the order. Thus, as the Parliament is made compatible for legislating under List- I’s Entry- 54 of the Seventh Schedule to Constitution of India, it has seemed it expedient in the public interest to make this law. Thus, the present law which was enacted in the 66th year of Republic of India was given assent finally by the President on 30th day of March, 2015. This Act is contemplating its provisions under its 33 sections which are divided into Six important chapters and several schedules, in which First Chapter is dealing with the introductory provisions, where notably, this Act’s operation is extended to the entire territories of India and also, it was given retrospective effect from 21st day of October, 2014.

Moreover, the second chapter in the Act is dealing with the ‘auction and allotment’ and its section 4 says that the coal mines found mentioned under Schedule- I of the Act should be allocated in the public auction. Also, the Centre is empowered under this section to select from either Government Company or Corporation or Joint Venture company; or from company or joint venture company formed by two or more companies that carry coal mining operations in India, for the reconnaissance permit, prospecting license or mining lease in respect of any Coal area. Moreover, such companies should be selected through auction by competitive bidding under this section. Further, the Act is also making provisions for the appointment of the Nominated authority who will be acting in behalf of the Centre for conducting such auction and allotment.

Further, the next chapter is making provisions as to treatment of rights and obligations of prior allottees. The right to negotiate with such prior allottees, in relation to the utilization of the movable properties, is vested with successful bidder or allottee. And such successful bidder will not be responsible for liabilities and obligations, if he was not vested with the movable properties of such allotted mines. Similarly, there are some other provisions relation to such obligations and rights are given under this chapter.

The Chapter- IV is making provisions in relation the coal mines enumerated under Schedule II of the Act. And this part of the Act is making provisions for the powers of the Centre after First day of April, 2015 and as per section 17 the Centre or Government Company is sought to become the lessee or licensee of the mines enumerated under Schedule II, in their connection, the lease or license was granted earlier to enactment of this Act. And in the event when it is found that on or from the said date of April, 2015, the auction or allotment of coal mines of Schedule- I if not completed then, the Centre is required to appoint custodian for managing and operating such coal mines. The, further provisions are dealing with the powers and duties of such custodian. Moreover, the next chapter is making provisions for certain arrangement and agreements, for which the Central Government is having power to allow.

The last chapter is containing the miscellaneous provisions, in which the first provision is seeking to allow the continuation of the existing land acquisition proceedings under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013, in so far it is connected with the Schedule-I mines. Moreover, there are some offences, defined and also penalties provided under its sections 23 to 25. And it is also sought to maintain that the provisions of this Act should be having overriding effect in connection with other Acts and provisions thereof which are inconsistent. Also, the Act is also amending the provisions of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 as per its Schedule IV. And the Central government is also empowered to make rule, in the given manner on the topics enlisted under section 31. And last provision is seeking to repeal the Coal Mines (Special Provisions), Second Ordinance, 2014, however, its previous effect is protected.

Read the Bare Act here