5th SLCU National Moot Court Competition Problem

Statement of Facts
1. The Territory of INDIA, a developing country, flourished in the era of
industrialisation, is largely an industrial economy with about 40% of the
population involved in and carrying out agricultural Activities. INDIA is rich in
atomic resources, especially Uranium. The Uranium ores are, to a great extent,
found in the mineralized zone of ‘HITHRO’, declared as a ‘Scheduled Area’
under Panchayat (Extension of Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996’, which has a total
cover area of 25 sq. km. in the ‘Reserve Forest’ of SWADESHI, an area of 125 sq.
km, home to the Indigenous tribal communities ‘LETRIA’, ‘LORTEP’ and
‘LANOITAN’, of about 400 to 450 in number, in the STATE OF REALKHAND.
2. The aforementioned tribal communities derived their means of livelihood from the
forest lands of SWADESHI by carrying out activities such as apiculture, gathering
of herbs, flowers and fruits and collection of gum dust and other produce.
Although SWADESHI was rich in atomic resources, the commercial exploitation
of the same was not permitted, as INDIA took pride in the natural biodiversity
comprising of rare flora and fauna, including the bar-headed goose and tufted
duck that it possessed, in the forests of SWADESHI. Further, the lands and the
rocks of SWADESHI were considered as a sacred place by the indigenous tribes
that resided therein.
3. INDIA incurred an electricity-crisis as on 12th January 2012 that led to a situation
of reduced supply of electricity for major areas of the Industry. The result of this
was that several industries had to be closed down, temporarily, and several
workers were either laid off, and/or retrenched in accordance with law. On 26th
May 2012, The ‘ALL INDIA LABOUR FORUM’ approached the SUPREME
COURT OF INDIA, and sought to quash the Permission accorded to the
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Industries, by the appropriate Government to lay-off the employees, and also to
direct the GOVERNMENT OF INDIA [Hereinafter, GoI] to provide for a remedy
to the power crisis, that has affected their Right to Livelihood, guaranteed under
the Constitution of INDIA. The Court passed an order [SEE, ANNEXURE A] that
directed the GoI to initiate action so as to resolve the electricity crisis.
4. The GoI, on 20th August 2012, in light of the Report submitted by the
DEPARTMENT OF ATOMIC ENERGY [Hereinafter, DoAE] on 11th July 2012
[See, Annexure B: Part-II], leased an area of 45 sq. km, inclusive of the Scheduled
Area, form the lands of SWADESHI, for a period of fifty years, to URANIUM
CORPORATION OF INDIA LIMITED [Hereinafter, UCIL], a fully owned entity
of the DoAE, India.
5. In the months of August-September 2012, there was a protest that was undertaken
by the Indigenous communities alleging that the said mining activity would hinder
their livelihood and peaceful existence in the forests of SWADESHI. Further,
SWADESHI SURAKSHA SAMITI [Hereinafter, SSS], a Non-Governmental
Organisation, protested that Uranium mill tailings retain about 85% of the original
radioactivity of the ore, and it is very difficult to minimise releases of radioactive
decay products such as Radium and Radon as well as heavy metals, given the
developing economy of India.
6. On 16th December 2012, UCIL gave a Tender Notification, to sub-lease the
process of extraction of minerals from the ores of SWADESHI, whereby
RUC], registered under the Companies Act, 1956, by reason of being the highest
bidder, was granted the lease on January 30th 2013. As per the agreement between
the UCIL and RUC, the Extracted Minerals are to be owned by the UCIL, and the
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land is leased to RUC for a period of 30 Years, commencing from the date of
grant of ‘Environmental Clearance’, by the ‘Ministry of Environment and Forests,
Government of India’, for the process of extraction. Further, the agreement
provided that the complete output of RUC shall be provided to the UCIL, and
payment for extraction of the same shall be made, by UCIL, at the rate prescribed
by the ‘Evaluation Committee’ to be constituted by the DoAE. The Evaluation
Committee shall give due recognition to the ‘Pricing Strategy’ evolved in
consultation with technical and market experts.
7. The RUC applied for an Environmental Clearance [Hereinafter, EC], after due
compliance with the necessary Rules and Regulations in this regard, on 13th July
2013. The Gram Panchayats, living in and around the vicinity of the Forests of
SWADESHI, were consulted in a Public Hearing on 17th August 2013, in respect
of the Environmental Clearance for carrying out the Mining-operations. The Gram
Panchayats did not raise any objections against the Project. The Notification that
provided for a Public Hearing of the tribal community, residing in SWADESHI,
scheduled to be held on 19th August 2013, was cancelled on the ground that the
said lease-area was within the Reserved Forest and the property rights of the same,
vested with the Government and as such a Hearing need not be made.
8. On 1st June 2014, A Conditional Environmental Clearance was granted for a
period of 30 years [SEE, ANNEXURE C]. On 5th July 2014, RUC managed to
get a Forest Clearance for carrying out the mining activities in the Reserve Forest
9. The tribal communities were not in favour of the Project, they agitated, in vain, on
grounds that they were to be displaced of the lands that were their homes and were
also sacred to them. SSS, espoused the cause of the tribal communities, alleging
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that the rights of the tribal communities would be affected by mining activity and
alleged that the Environmental Clearance that was granted was not in consonance
with the objects of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Forest
Conservation Act, 1980, and thereon filed a Writ Petition under Article 32 of the
Constitution of India, on 14th July 2014.
10. The following assumptions are to be made by the Parties and the same shall not be
rebutted to be otherwise:
i. The Constitution and Legislations referred to in the Fact-Sheet shall be
deemed to be a reference to the relevant law of India, and all other
laws of India shall be in pari materia to the laws applicable to the
ii. “Reserve Forest”, shall mean a forest under “ Chapter II of the Indian
Forest Act 1927”;
iii. “Scheduled Area”, shall mean an area, as defined, under ‘Panchayat
(Extension of Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996’.
11. The Participants may raise any other Issue on the given facts, but shall argue on
the following:
Whether the local remedies have been exhausted?
Whether the Rights of the tribal communities are infringed by
the Mining Project?
Whether the Environment Clearance is valid?
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Relevant Extracts of the Decision of the Supreme Court of India in
All India Labor Forum v. Union of India [W P No: xx/2012 dated xx/2012]
1. In the challenged order of the Government of India dated 10-03-2012, 15-032012, 11-04 2012 and; which gave prior permission to the Industries to Lay Off
their Employees on account of the prevailing power crisis, (by the order dated 1003-2012) Government granted prior permission to 15 industries, by order dated
15-03-2012 to 25 industries, by order dated 11-04-2012 to 39 industries.
2. The AILF challenged the orders of the Appropriate Government (which gave
prior permission), on the ground of public policy, as it affected the livelihood of
the several industrial workers, due to ‘lay-off’ and ‘Retrenchment’.
3. The Supreme Court of India quashed the orders of the Appropriate Governments,
further identified that the power-crisis to be the root cause for the lay off and
retrenchment and thereby directed the GoI to:
a) Submit a report as to why there is power crisis. [SEE, ANNEXURE B:
Part I]
b) Appoint a Specialised Agency, viz. Department of Atomic Energy to
prepare report about the alternative energy resources available in the
country and Provide in the report for the means as to how the power crises
have to be met. [SEE, ANNEXURE B: Part II]
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Relevant Extracts of the
‘Report on Power-Crisis’
as submitted by the Government of India
“It is hereby submitted on the 10th day of June, 2012, that the prevailing Power
crisis is due to the increase in the influx of Industrial activities across the territory of
INDIA. The resources of the Country are not fully utilized to meet its’
“….The Department of Atomic Energy has been anointed with the task to
submit a Report, in consultation with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, on
deployment of a strategy for production of electricity with the use of Atomic
Relevant Extracts From the
‘Report of Department of Atomic Energy’
“A Report on the alternative energy resources that is available for the Production
of Electricity, on the request of the Government of India, as submitted on 11th July
“…..In the given scenario, the production of electricity through the
mining and
extraction of Uranium from the ores of SWADESHI is most
“.........The lands may be leased to UCIL and the Uranium Extraction
Process can be suitably undertaken by the means of use of Leaching Process with
the aid of Tailings Dam……”
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Government of India
Ministry of Environment and Forests [MOEF]
Paryavaran Bhavan,
CGO Complex
New Delhi
UCIL Mines,
E-mail: [email protected]
Commencement Of The Extraction Of Uranium From The Mines Leased To
This is a letter granting Environmental Clearance in pursuance of the application
made on 13th July 2013, and clarifications provided from time to time, on the
subject mentioned above. The MOEF grants the Environmental Clearance vide
this letter dated 01st June 2014, for a period of 30 Years, commencing from the
Date of Grant of Forest Clearance.
The MOEF, grants the Environmental Clearance in accordance with
“Environment Impact Assessment Notification”. The Clearance is thereby granted
to M/s Rustam Uranium Corporation Private Limited, for an Annual Production
Capacity of 1.65 million tonnes of Uranium Ore by use of the mechanised
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method, involving the Total Lease Area of 45 sq. Km., subject to the following
conditions and environmental safeguards.
A. Specific Safeguards
i. The Environment Clearance is subject to the grant of Forest
Clearance, for grant of permission to work in the Reserve Forest
Areas of SWADESHI.
ii. The Project shall ensure that no natural watercourse, prevailing
within the lease area, shall be obstructed due to mining activities.
iii. The Project shall develop effective emergency response procedure
to ensure appropriate Risk Management System in the Public
Domain, if any, due to the Project.
iv. The land Oustees and Land Losers shall be compensated under the
National Policy on Resettlement and Rehabilitation of Affected
Families, 2007/State Government Norms.
v. RUC shall endeavour to provide for Compassionate-Employment,
to at least one Adult Member of each Family of the Indigenous
vi. RUC shall not put up any Permanent Structures within the Reserve
Forest area, other than the ones required for the Core-mining
vii. RUC shall carry out the activity of Compensatory Afforestation
for an area of 45 sq. Km.
General Conditions
i. RUC shall contribute a sum of 2 percent of its average three years
profits every year to the CAMPA Fund.
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ii. RUC shall allow the Indigenous communities to access the Forest
for Firewood, Apiculture and such other livelihood rights in
accordance to their customary practices.
iii. Failure to comply with any of the Conditions above may result in
the withdrawal of this clearance and attract action under the
provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
An Appeal against this Environmental Clearance shall lie to the National Green
Tribunal, constituted under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010.
Copy To:
1. Secretary of Mines, GOI
2. Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control
3. The Chief Wildlife Warden
4. District Collector, HITHRO
5. Monitoring File
6. Record File
Additional Director
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