The Oilfields (Regulation and Development) Act, 1948

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The Oilfields (Regulation and Development) Act, 1948 (Act No. 53 of 1948) was being the Act of Parliament, enacted with the view to regulate and develop oilfields and mineral resources respectively in the interest of public. The Act was amended by different Amending Acts of 1969 and 1984.

The short title of the Act is provided under first section of the Act and the same section deals with its extension which should be over whole of India, initially it was not to be extended to the State of Jammu and Kashmir but later with effect from the date 1st June, 1958 the was extended over entire Indian territory. The Act came into effect on 25th October, 1949 by the Central Government notification published in the Official Gazette. The original Act of 1948 was dealing with the provisions as to control of the Central Government as it is expedient thereof under Section 2, however, the provision was repealed by the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957. The Section 3 of the Act provides for definitions of certain terms provided under various provisions of the Act, needful for interpreting them.

Further, Section 4 of the Act is very important so far as it is connected lease for mining. The sections says that the mining lease granted after the Act brought into effect, should not valid and should be treated void and without effect, however, the lease in mining granted under the rules framed under this Act will be valid. Section 5 empowers the Central Government to provide for rules as to regulation of grant of mining leases and also for restrictions as to grant of leases for mineral oils. Similarly, the rules should also be made on the list of matter provided under its sub section (2), including manner of applying and fees, etc. for mining leases, also authority to whom the application to be made, terms and conditions and extension of area, period and rent amount for/on which such leases could be granted. Similarly, the Central Government should also provide for mineral development by making rules under Section 6, and the matters on which such rules to be provided should includes  mineral oil resources development in any prescribed area and for regulating use, etc. thereof. Also, section 7 makes provisions for making rules as to modification or alteration of granted leases, and the rules should include the provision as to previous notice of such modification, payment of compensation by benefited party, etc.

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The Section 6A of the Act, was not initially provided under the Act, however, it was inserted by the Act no. 39 of 1969 from 1st January 1968. The provision specifies that the holder of mining lease i.e. in common language a lessee thereof should irrespective of what has been contained under the instrument of lease, pay royalty for mining mineral oil at the prescribed rates even either before or after the commencement of Amending Act of 1969. However, no royalty need to be paid for certain minerals provided under sub section (3). The rates on which royalty to be paid, are to be provided by the Central Government. Section 9 is important so far as it deals with penal provisions as to breach of such rules provided under previous provisions. The punishment includes maximum imprisonment up to 6 months  or maximum fine up to 1000 rupees or even both imprisonment and fine and for continuation of commission of offence, the fine should be 1000 rupees for each day such continuation.

Section 11 being essential dealing with authorized officer’s power of inspection, who is to be authorized by the Central Government for several purposes enumerated under this provision. Section 12 of the Act deals with provisions as to relaxation from such rules, when the Central Government seems it good in public interest to grant lease in mining, then even on other terms and conditions the lease could be granted. Section 13 says that the provisions of this Act should also have binding effect on the Government.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.