Kerala High Court declared unlawful extraction of mines and minerals without mandatory permit or in violation of permit conditions to constitute theft under Section 379 of Indian Penal Code.
In the case of Shybi CJ v State of Kerala, the petitioner had lodged a complaint with the police claiming that the accused by the name ‘M/s Four Star Granites Ltd’ is extracting granite exceeding the permitted quantity, thereby committing theft.
The petitioner moved the High Court due to inaction of police.
Advocate C. Dheeraj Ranjan, representing the petitioner relied on Supreme Court’s recent judgment in Jayant v State of Madhya Pradesh, where it was held that illegal exploitation of natural resources can be labelled as theft which is a punishable offence under Section 379 of IPC.
Ranjan also highlighted the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Kanwar Pal Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh where the apex court disallowed the contention that excavation of sand would not emulate to the offence of theft since it is an immovable property as per Section 3(26) of the General Clauses Act.
Justice VG Arun remarked, “Precedents aforementioned leave no room for doubt that illegal extraction of granite, without requisite permit or in violation of the permit conditions, will amount to theft”.
The court, therefore, directed the police to take necessary action within two weeks.