Delhi HC seeks reply of Centre, Odisha govt on Vedanta plea

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today sought response of the Centre and Odisha government on Vedanta Ltd’s plea against a rule that mandates that mining lessees have to pay contributions to district mineral foundations.

Vedanta Ltd, a subsidiary of UK-based Vedanta group, has challenged Rule 3 of the Mines and Mineral (Contribution to District Mineral Foundation) Rules, 2015 which imposes the levy with retrospective effect.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal also sought response of Coal India Ltd and its subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd on the petition which has also challenged a Coal Ministry notification by which the levy was made applicable retrospectively from January 12, 2015.

The matter is listed for further hearing on February 14.

The company has contended that the levy is contrary to the law and cannot be applied retrospectively.

Vedanta has sought that Rule 3 be declared illegal, null and void and ultra vires the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

Apart from that, it has also sought quashing of the August 31, 2016 notification by which the ministry made the levy applicable with retrospective effect from January 12, 2015.

Under the Rule, it was applicable from October 20, 2015.

The company has also claimed that there is a lack of clarity about the contribution rate as at present it ranges from 10 per cent to 30 per cent, as the case may be.