THE COKING COAL MINES (NATIONALIZATION) ACT 1972

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In India, the coal mining has been performed for commercial purpose even since the ancient times and hence India possesses rich domestic coal storage. . At some stage in the first five year plan National Coal Development Corporation was set up in 1956 with an intention to amplify coal production by organized and scientific progress of the industries. For the purpose of nationalizing coal mines The Coking Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act was enacted on August 17, 1972 which came into force on May 1, 1972 with retrospective effect.

The main objective behind the legislation is to get hold of and transmit the title, interest and rights of the person holding coking coal mines. The Act aims to restructure and modernize the mines as well as plants for the reason to protect, safeguard and uphold scientific progression of these resources which is essential for the increasing needs of iron and steel establishments and for other matters related with these industries. Another reason for the enactment is to fulfill the policies enunciated under Article 39(b) of the Constitution of India.

At the commencement of the Act, the rights, interest and title of the holder of the coking coal mines shall be transmitted and vested with the Central government unconditionally and such mines shall be carried out without any interruption. Where it comes to the notice of the Central Government that any technical error has occurred or any lapse or misdescription has happened regarding the details of the mines or the holder, it shall make necessary alterations by notification. But where the mines are under any dispute, such corrections or alterations are not permitted. If any claims granted to a person by lease who is the holder of the mine by the State Government, such mine shall vest in the Central government. From the period of vesting, the Central Government shall be considered to be the lessee of the Government granting such lease. Such lease granted shall be fresh lease with regard to that mine. This is done according to the Mineral Concession Rules and all the rights shall be transferred to the Central government under such lease. Under the rules, the Central Government is permitted to renew the lease on the expiration of the original term of lease.

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However, if the Central Government is of the opinion that a Government Company is capable to manage and willing to abide by the requisites and stipulations as insisted by such Government, then all rights of the holder of the mine shall be transferred to the Government Company instead of vesting with the Central government from such date provided in the direction. When the rights are transferred to the Government Company, it becomes the lessee of the mine in the same manner as the mining lease has been provided under the rules and the Company shall also turn out to be the proprietor of the coke oven plant. The Government Company shall be released from any trust, responsibility, mortgage and all other impediments and the attachment order or decree of the court which limits the utilization of the property shall be vacated.

Furthermore, the accountability of the proprietor, agent or administrator of the mine shall remain in the same way and it shall be implemented against such person. The administration of the mines and plants shall vest with the Central Government where a direction in this regard is issued by the Government. If no direction is provided the Central government shall appoint a custodian to act as the administrator. The Act also confers certain duties on the persons holding and managing the mines relating to the delivery of resources. In order to distribute the payments of the proprietors of the coal mines or plants the Central government is empowered to appoint the Commissioner of Payments.

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The Coking Coal Mines (Nationalization) Act, 1972 was further amending in 1993 by enacting the Coal Mines (Nationalization) Amendment Act. Yet another legislation relating to coal mines in India is the Coal Mines (Taking Over of Management) Act, 1973 which expanded the right of the Central government to administer coking and non coking mines in different states.