BY : Maulik Bharat
Retired IAS V Sundaram has complaint to the Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission against the illegal notification of January 18, 2006 on atomic minerals and loot of Rs 96,120 crore. The complaint was sent on November 7, 2012. He also sent a copy of the complained to Comptroller and Auditor General of India on November 19 highlighting all the illegalities committed using the illegal notification of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) without Parliament approval for amending the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. It caused a gigantic loot of Rs 96,120 crore worth of rich atomic minerals by a Tamil Nadu based private company during the last decade. The copy of the latter has also been sent to Union Ministry of Mines, Vigilance Commissioner and CBI Director. In his letter dated November 7 addressed to the Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, Dr R.K Sinha, Mr Sundaram said the DAE should immediately notify the cancellation and withdrawal of the Notification S.O. 61(E) of January 18, 2006 and Gazetted on January 20, 2006 and initiate immediate penal action against those who have acted in contravention of the rule of law enunciated in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. He also urged that all the Delisted Atomic Minerals must be reinstated as prescribed substances. "Carefully devised and formulated checks and balances must be put in place in order to safeguard invaluable National Atomic Mineral Wealth. The steps taken by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) must be clearly communicated and made available in a public domain. Such details should not be viewed or treated as contraband material to be withheld from public view, nor should they be viewed as disposable table napkins to be used and discarded according to political or administrative convenience, or both, from time to time," the letter said. The letter further said export quotas for all the minerals must be established on scientific and technological grounds and form a demonstrable part of the National Development Plan. A new lease of life must be given to Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) and other Departmental Agencies and they must be given all necessary impetus to fulfil the targets if the National Thorium Programme is to be saved from extinction, as adumbrated at the highest levels of the Utterly Paralyzed Administration (UPA) today, of which the DAE forms an integral and inseparable part. The DAE should reiterate the instructions banning the mining, transport and export of placer sands, containing atomic minerals, by private commercial agencies. The IREL should be strengthened with adequate resources to ensure enforcement of Government policies to safeguard, protect and conserve the minerals of national importance that are vital for the nation's energy programmes and the nation's strategic security imperative. Special attention must be given to protect the public sector enterprise IREL against the machinating and manipulating cruelty of private commercial agencies like M/s V.V Minerals holding near monopoly of the Mining Leases for Garnet and 100% monopoly in respect of Mining Leases for Ilmenite in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In the letter Mr Sundaram highlighted in detail the nature, the extent, the latitude, the longitude, the altitude and the magnitude of the breakdown of administration in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) during the last 12 years and more. He said the DAE notification S.O. 61(E) of January 18, 2006, gazetted on Janaury 20, 2006, which revised the list of prescribed substances, prescribed equipment and technology is illegal. The Indian Parliament has not approved the changes proposed in the list of Atomic Minerals in First Schedule of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. Shri VP Raja's letter No. D.O.No.7/3(4)2005-PSU/21 dated February 2, 2006, addressed to Shri R.K Sharma, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Mineral Industries in New Delhi, clearly states that the Notification can be effective only after the Act is amended and passed by the Parliament. The Act 67 of 1957 has not been amended so far. "I am rather surprised that your Almighty Public Office does not seem to be aware of the fact that Bill No: 110 of 2011 'Mines and Minerals [Development and Regulation] Bill' 2011 introduced in the Lok Sabha, in 2011. The main objective of this Bill was to repeal Act 67 of 1957. This Bill No: 110 of 2011 has not yet been passed by the Lok Sabha. It was illegal to have issued and Gazetted the DAE Notification S.O. 61(E) of January 18, 2006, without first ensuring the prior approval of the Parliament to the proposed changes in the list of the prescribed substances declared as atomic minerals under the Act 67 of 1957, the letter said. How can anyone issue a Notification and make it appear legal by making it subject to approval of Amendment by Parliament? It is height of irresponsibility to assume Amendment by Parliament. It is unheard of in the annals of gazetting notifications that a notification gets issued without the authority of an enactment by Parliament. This notification of January 2006 is patently illegal and actions flowing from the operations of an illegal notification are ipso facto illegal and do not have the force of the rule of law. If every Department in the vast machinery of the Government of India proceeds on this cavalier assumption and presumption, we will have nothing but uncontrolled anarchy and confusion, Mr Sundaram said in the letter. The Executive is not expected to encroach upon the clearly defined zone of the Legislature. The Notification issued by the DAE on January 18, 2006 and Gazetted on January 20 2006 sought to do in an unconstitutional manner. The officers and staff in the DAE and the Union Ministry of Mines have not been empowered under the law to presume and issue Notifications in anticipation of subsequent or post dated approval by Parliament.