JSPL v. State of Odisha: Landmark Ruling on Iron Ore Transportation

In the case of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. v. State of Odisha, the High Court granted a writ petition allowing JSPL to transport legally procured, processed iron ore. The court’s decision was based on the interpretation of ‘mining operations’ as per the Constitutional Bench ruling in The Bihar Mines Ltd. v. Union of India. This judgment sets a significant precedent regarding transportation rights in the mining industry.


  • The High Court allowed the writ petition filed by Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. seeking a writ of mandamus against the State of Odisha for transporting legally procured, processed, royalty, and tax-paid stock of Iron Ore.
  • The High Court relied on the interpretation of ‘mining operations’ from the Constitutional Bench decision in The Bihar Mines Ltd. v. Union of India.
  • Transportation of minerals already raised was not considered as ‘mining operations’ based on the mentioned interpretation.
  • The impugned letters directing stoppage of transportation were quashed, and the State-authorities were directed to grant transport permission to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.
  • Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. had environmental clearance, permission for selling Iron Ore, and had paid requisite royalties, which were found as valid reasons for transportation to not be stopped by the State of Odisha.
  • JSPL had valid environmental clearances for purchasing and processing Iron Ore within SMPL’s leasehold area.
  • JSPL approached the State authorities for permission to transport the processed mineral to its plants.
  • Appellants initially rejected JSPL’s requests for transport permits.
  • A letter issued by the Deputy Director of Mines highlighted that SMPL’s Environmental Clearance had expired, leading to the denial of transit permits.
  • JSPL sought relief from the High Court by challenging the denial of transport permits and requesting a writ of mandamus for transportation permission.

Also Read: Environmental Violations Case: TNPCB v. Copper Slag Unit


  • JSPL sought directions to transport Iron Ore stock purchased from SMPL.
  • Appellants argued that JSPL’s title over the goods could not be better than SMPL’s title.
  • HC misinterpreted MOEF’s clarificatory letter on Environmental Clearance.
  • SMPL sought intervention to resume mining operations after depositing dues as directed by the Court.
  • ICICI Bank and State Bank of India intervened claiming financial interest in JSPL’s working capital.
  • JSPL contended it had the right to transport legally procured Iron Ore despite SMPL’s environmental clearance issues.
  • Appellants argued that transportation of minerals was included in the prohibition of ‘mining activities/operations’ as per MMRDA.
  • Banks had exposure of Rs 434 Crores in the case, contingent on JSPL being allowed to transport Iron Ore.
  • Appellants claimed JSPL had no right to transport ore derived from unauthorized excess production.
  • Learned Counsel representing the State of Odisha and SMPL did not controvert the fact-situation.
  • The State of Odisha and SMPL did not contest the presented facts.
  • There was no opposition from the State of Odisha and SMPL regarding the situation.

Also Read: High Court Upholds Decision on Minimum Eligibility Cut-Off in Judicial Promotions Case


  • The appellant-State raised multiple disputes and questions of law in written submissions, but during oral hearing, both parties focused on JSPL’s conditional entitlement to transport iron ore from SMPL’s lease area to its plants in Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
  • Counsel for the appellants did not object to disposing of the petition in light of subsequent developments.
  • The appellants are subject to SMPL filing the specified undertaking.
  • No need to address the legal disputes raised in the main appeal due to the current circumstances.

Also Read: Protecting LGBTQ+ Rights: Supreme Court’s Landmark Judgment on Habeas Corpus Petitions


  • SMPL must comply with direction no. (i) above before JSPL can lift the already mined, processed, and royalty paid Iron Ore.
  • Once SMPL pays its dues and gives the requisite undertaking by 29 February, 2020, it can resume its mining operations.
  • The proceeds from the operations must be deposited into the Trust & Retention Account with the State Bank of India.
  • Failure to comply with these directions will result in any sale being legally void.


Case Number: C.A. No.-000850-000850 / 2020

Click here to read/download original judgement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *