The Gauhati High Court has ruled that the Assam Mineral Development Corporation cannot prevent the Railways from shipping goods, in this case, coal, in the course of inter-state trade unless the Corporation issues a joint NOC.
According to Justice Arun Dev Chaudhry, the Corporation may not have the authority to issue such a joint NOC.
As a result, a communication issued by the Corporation requiring the Chief Freight Transportation Manager of the NF Railways to send the transit passes, supporting documents/papers, and other materials submitted by the intending coal transporters to the office of the Managing Director Assam Mineral Development Corporation Limited for verification and issuance of a joint NOC by the Assam Mineral Development Corporation Limited and the Directorate of Geology & Mining, Assam has stayed.
The lawsuit involved Utimraj Commercial Pvt Ltd, a coal-mining company in the state of Meghalaya.
Assam Mineral Development Corporation would have jurisdiction to inspect the paperwork
The Petitioner used to carry coal by railways from the states of Meghalaya to other parts of the country. Because of Meghalaya’s geographical location, the commodities must pass through the state of Assam.
The petitioner maintained that he had secured relevant documentation from the Government of Meghalaya, such as transit passes and NOCs, for such transportation. The aforementioned statement was given by the Managing Director, Assam Mineral Development Corporation, however, aggravated it.
The court stated that if coal is being transported from the state of Meghalaya to other states by railways through the state of Assam, the authorities in Assam, such as the Assam Mineral Development Corporation, would have jurisdiction to inspect the paperwork.
However, it appears that the Assam Mineral Development Corporation would not need the Railways to transport coal without a joint NOC from the Assam Mineral Development Corporation, because the Assam Mineral Development Corporation may not have the authority to give such a joint NOC.
As a result, it issued a plea notice that was due back in four weeks.
The Court further stated that the current ruling will not prevent the appropriate respondent authorities from inspecting the paperwork accompanying the coal sought to be transported and determining the authenticity of the coal’s place of origin.