The prohibition of the export of a commodity by the government could be considered as force majeure, according to the Supreme Court.
It invoked the principle last week for setting aside an international award in the appeal case, NAFED
vs Alimenta. According to the 30-year-old award delivered by the Federation of Oil, Seed and Fat Association, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation had to pay $4,681,000 with a 10.5 per cent interest from 1981 to the Swiss firm. The Supreme Court, while overruling the Delhi High Court, stated the contract to export groundnut itself was against basic law and public policy. Besides, the contract was so unfair that the government rightly declined permission to export the commodity. The supply could not have been made without the permission of the government. It could not be supplied because of force majeure, the judgment said.
More than 25 mining firms in Rajasthan won their case when the high court quashed two state government notifications imposing an absolute restriction on the transportation of minor minerals
outside the state. The notifications were issued under the Rajasthan Minor Mineral Concession Rules, purportedly to protect domestic industries and in the public interest. The prohibition would have last up to three years in some cases. Allowing the appeals, led by Surana Minerals
vs State, the high court ruled the notification violated the freedom of trade between states. It stated such power could be exercised so as to regulate the transportation of minor minerals and only for the purposes of preventing illegal mining, trans-portation and storage. Referring to the Mines and Minerals Regulation Act, the court said the power of the government to make rules did not go beyond regulating the grant of quarry leases, mining leases, and other minor mineral concessions.