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THE COAL MINES (NATIONALISATION) ACT, 1973

Title : THE COAL MINES (NATIONALISATION) ACT, 1973

Year : 1973



(1) For the purpose of disbursing the amounts payable to the owner of each coal mine or group of coal mines, the Central Government shall appoint such person as it may think fit to be the Commissioner of Payments.

(2) The Central Government may appoint such other persons as it may think fit to assist the Commissioner and thereupon the Commissioner may authorise one or more of such persons to also exercise all or any of the powers execisable by him under this Act, and different persons may be authorised to exercise different powers.

(3) Any person authorised by the Commissioner to exercise any powers may exercise those powers in the same manner and with the same effect as if they have been conferred on that person directly by this Act and not by way of authorisation.

(4) The salaries and allowances of the Commissioner and other persons appointed under this section shall be defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund of India.




(1) The Central Government shall, within thirty days from the specified date,1*pay, in cash, to the Commissioner for payment to the owner of a coal mine, an amount equal to the amount specified against the coal mine in the schedule and shall also pay to the Commissioner such sums as may be due to the owner of a coal mine under section 9.

(2) In addition to the sum referred to in sub-section (1), the Central Government shall pay, in cash, to the Commissioner, such amount as may become due to the owner of a coal mine in relation to 2*[the period] during which the management of the coal mine remains vested in the Central Government 3*[and simple interest at the rate of four per cent. per annum on such amount for the period commencing on the 1st day of June, 1975 and ending on the date of payment of such payment to the Commissioner].

(3) A deposit account shall be opened by the Central Government, in favour of the Commissioner, in the Public Account of India, and every amount paid under this Act to the Commissioner shall be deposited by him to the credit of the said deposit account in the Public Account of India, and thereafter the said deposit account shall be operated by the Commissioner.

(4) Separate records shall be maintained by the Commissioner in respect of each coal mine in relation to which payments have been made to him under this Act.

(5) Interest accruing on the amounts standing to the credit of the deposit account referred to in sub-section (3) shall ensure to the benefit of the owners of coal mines [and shall also be payable to the Commissioner in addition to the sum referred to in sub-section (12)].

(6) References in this section to the owner of a coal mine shall, in relation to a group of coal mines specified in the Schedule, be construed as references to the owner of that group of coal mines.

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1. 1-11-1974 as the specified date for the purpose of Section. 18(1)-

2. Substituted for the words "any period, after the appointed day" by the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 11 (27-5-78).

3. Inserted by the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (57 to 1986), Section. 15 (w.r.e.f. 1-5-1973).

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(1) The Central Government or the Government company, as the case may be, shall cause the books in relation to each coal mine, the management of which has vested in it under the Coal Mines (Taking Over of Management) Act, 1973, to be closed and balanced as on the date immediately before the appointed day, and shall cause a statement of accounts, as on that day, to be prepared, within such time, in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed, in relation to such mine in respect of the transactions effected by it during the period for which the management of such coal mine remained vested in it :

Provided
that where two or more coal mines were owned, before the commencement of this Act, by the same owner, a consolidated statement of accounts may be prepared for all the local mines owned by such owner.

(2) All amounts received by the Central Government or the Government company after the closure of such accounts shall where such accounts relate to transactions effected before the appointed day, be included in the said statement of accounts in respect of the coal mine to which the said receipt relates.

(3) The Central Government or the Government company in which the right, title and interest of coal mine stand vested shall be entitled to receive, up to the specified date,1* to the exclusion of all other persons, any money, due to the coal mine, realised after the appointed day notwithstanding that the realisations pertain to a period prior to the appointed day :

Provided
that where such realisations have not been included in the statement of accounts as on the day immediately before the appointed day, a supplementary statement of accounts shall he prepared and furnished, at such intervals as may be prescribed, by the Central Government or the Government company to the owner of the coal mine.

2*[(4) The liabilities of the coal mine (not being liabilities arising out of advances made by the Central Government or the Government company), which could not be discharged by the appointed day, may be discharged by the Central Government or the Government company up to the specified date1* out of the realisations effected before or after the appointed day or out of advances or borrowings made up to the specified date and every payment so made shall be included in the statement of accounts as on the date immediately before the appointed day indicating therein the period in relation to which the payments were made and the payments so made shall not be called in question in any court :

Provided
that the liabilities in relation to the period prior to the appointed day, which have not been discharged on or before the specified date, shall be the liabilities of the owner of the coal mine.]

(5) A copy of each statement of accounts prepared under this section shall be delivered by the Central Government or the Government company, as the case may be, to the Commissioner and also to the owner.

Provided that where the number of owners is more than one, only one copy of the statement of accounts shall be given to the owners for the benefit of all of them.

(6) The statement of accounts prepared under this section shall be audited by a person who is qualified to be appointed as an auditor of a company under section 226 of the Companies Act, 1956, and the auditor so appointed shall receive from the funds of the coal mine, such remuneration as the Central Government may fix.

(7) The audit of the statement of accounts shall be conducted in such manner as the Central Government may direct.

3*[(8) The statement of accounts audited under sub-section (6) shall, unless the contrary is proved, be conclusive proof in respect of every matter entered therein.

Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, "statement of accounts" means a statement in the form of receipts and payments, and does not include any statement that may be prepared as a result of the closing and balancing of the books for the preparation of the profit and loss account and balance-sheet or any statement prepared in accordance with the normal commercial practice.]

19A -4* Validation of certain collections

(1) Not withstanding anything contained in section 2 as amended by section 10 of the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act, 1978, any money collected by the Central Government or the Government company during the period commencing on the appointed day and ending with the date specified under sub-section (3) of section 19 shall be deemed to have been validly collected by the Central Government or the Government company, as the case may be, and any such money shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions of section 19.

(2) Any money collected as aforesaid shall not be called in question in any court of law.]

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1. 30-11-1974 is the specified date for the purpose of S. 19(3) and 19(4) and the proviso thereto-

2. Substituted by the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (57 of 1986), S. 16 (w.r.e.f. 1-5-1973).

3. Inserted, by the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (57 of 1986), S. 16 (w.r.e.f. 1-5-1973).

4. Inserted by the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 12 (27-5-78).

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1*[(1)] Every person having a claim against the owner of a coal mine shall prefer such claim before the Commissioner within thirty days from the specified date:

Provided
that if the Commissioner is satisfied that the claimant was prevented by sufficient cause from preferring the claim within the said period of thirty days, he may entertain the claim within a further period of thirty days but not thereafter.

1*[(2) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1), claims in relation to a provident fund, pension fund, gratuity or any other fund established for the welfare of the persons employed by the owner of a coal mine or group of coal mines may be filed on behalf of the persons so employed by the Coal Mines Provident Fund Commissioner appointed by the Central Government under section 3C of the Coal Mines Provident Fund, Family Pension and Bonus Schemes Act, 1948 2*[and claims in relation to any other matter may be filed on behalf of all or any of the persons so employed or any group of such persons, by any Trade Union, registered under the Trade Unions Act, 1926, or, where no such claim has been filed by any Trade Union, by the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) appointed by the Central Government or any officer subordinate to him;] and the claims so made shall be deemed to have been made by the persons having a claim against the owner of a coal mine or group of coal mines :

Provided that no such claim shall be made by the Coal Mines Provident Fund Commissioner 2*[or the Trade Union or the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) or any officer subordinate to him,] in relation to a person who has already made a claim under sub-section (1).]

3*[(3) Where any claim, not being a claim which was time barred on 31st day of January, 1973, was preferred under sub-section (1) within the period specified therefore and was rejected merely on the ground that such claim was time-barred, such claim shall be deemed not to have been rejected and the Commissioner shall restore on his file such claim and shall deal with it in the manner specified in section 23.]

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1. Section 20 re-numbered as (1) and sub-section (2) inserted thereafter by the Coking and non-coking Coal Mines Nationalisation Amendment Act 41 of 1973, Section. 6 (1-5-73).

2. Inserted by the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 13 (w.r.e.f. 1-5-73).

3 . Sub-section (3) inserted, by the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 13 (w.r.e.f. 1-11-1975).

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(1) Every person employed by the owner of coal mine or group of coal mines may make a claim to the Commissioner to the effect that the sums deducted under sub-section (4) of section 7 of the Coal Mines (Taking Over of Management) Act, 1973, are not sufficient to meet fully the amount of arrears due to him, on the appointed day within the meaning of that Act, from the owner of such coal mine or group of coal mines,-

(a) In relation to a provident fund, pension fund, gratuity fund or any other fund established for the welfare of the persons employed by the owner of a coal mine or group of coal mines, or

(b) As wages, and that a sum equal to the deficiency may be recovered from the amount specified in the Schedule against the owner of such coal mine or group of coal mines.

(2) Where a claim is made under sub-section (1), the Commissioner shall determine the extent of the deficiency and shall, after such determination, deduct in the first instance, out of the amount paid to him under Section 5, a sum equal to the extent of the deficiency determined by him under this sub-section.

(3) All sums deducted by the Commissioner under sub-section (2) shall, in accordance with such rules as may be made under this Act, be credited by the Commissioner to the relevant fund or be paid to the persons to whom such sums are due, and on such credit or payment, the liability of the owner in respect of all the amounts of arrears due as aforesaid shall stand discharged.

(4) The deductions made by the Commissioner under sub-section (2) shall have priority over all other debts, whether secured or unsecured.



(1) Save as otherwise provided in section 21, every secured debt due from the owner of a coal mine or group of coal mines shall have priority over all other debts and shall be paid in accordance with the rights and interest of the secured creditors.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, there shall be paid in priority to all other unsecured debts, not being the amounts advanced by the Central Government or the Custodian appointed under the Coal Mines (Taking Over of Management) Act, 1973, for the management of the coal mine,-

(a) All sums due to the State Government including royalty and dead rent;

(b) All amounts due in respect of any compensation or liability for compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923, in respect of the death or disablement of any employee of the coal mine unless such mine has, under such contract with insurers as mentioned in1[section 14] of the said Act, rights capable of being transferred to and vested in, the workmen, and

(c) All sums deducted by the employer from the salary or wages of any workman or other employee for credit to any provident fund, or any other fund established for the welfare of the employees of the coal mine but not deposited to the credit of the said fund.

(3) The debts specified in sub-section (2) shall rank equally among themselves and be paid in full, unless the assets are insufficient to meet them, in which case they shall abate in equal proportions and be paid accordingly.

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1 . Substituted for the word and figures "section 15" by the Repealing and Amending Act (38 of 1978), Section. 3, 2nd Schedule.(26-11-1978).

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(1) The Commissioner shall fix a certain date on or before which every claimant shall file the proof of his claim or be excluded from the benefit of the disbursement made by the Commissioner.

(2) Not less than fourteen days' notice of the date so fixed shall be given by advertisement in one issue of the daily newspaper in the English language and one issue of the daily newspaper in the regional language as the Commissioner may consider suitable, and every such notice shall call upon the claimant to file the proof of his claim with the Commissioner within the time specified in the advertisement.

(3) Every claimant who fails to file the proof of his claim within the time specified by the Commissioner shall be excluded from the disbursements made by the Commissioner.

(4) The Commissioner shall, after such investigation as may, in his opinion, be necessary and after giving the owner of the coal mine an opportunity of refuting the claim and after giving the claimant a reasonable opportunity of being heard, in writing, admit or reject the claim in whole or in part.

(5) The Commissioner shall have the power to regulate his own procedure in all matters arising out of the discharge of his functions including the place or places at which he will hold his sittings and shall, for the purpose of making any investigation under this Act, have the same powers as are vested in a civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, while trying a suit, in respect of the following matters, namely:-

(a) The summoning and enforcing the attendance of any witness and examining him on oath;

(b) The discovery and production of any document or other material object producible as evidence;

(c) The reception of evidence on affidavits;

(d) The issuing of any commission for the examination of witness.

(6) Any investigation before the Commissioner shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code and the Commissioner shall, be deemed to be a civil Court for the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXXV of the Code of Criminal procedure, 1898.

1*[(6A) The Commissioner may, on receipt of a claim,-

(a) Elect to settle the claim himself; or

(b) Transfer the claim for settlement to a person authorised in this behalf under sub-section (2) of section 11; or

(c) Withdraw the claim for the person referred to in clause (b) and either settle the claim himself or transfer it for disposal to any other person who has been authorised in this behalf under sub-section (2) of section 17.]

(7) 2*[A claimant or owner who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Commissioner may prefer an appeal, within a period of sixty days from the date of the decision] to the principal civil Court of original jurisdiction within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the coal mine is situated:

Provided that where a person who is a" Judge of a High Court is appointed to be the Commissioner, such appeal shall lie to the High Court for the State in which the coal mine is situated, arid such appeal shall be heard and disposed of by not less than two Judges of that High Court.

1*[Provided further that any appeal which has not been preferred before the date on which the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act, 1978, receives the assent of the President, shall be preferred within a period of sixty days from such date.]

23A 3* Application of sections 5 and 12 of the Limitation Act

The provisions of sections 5 and 12 of the Limitation Act, 1963, shall, so far as may be, apply to appeals under section 23.]

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1 . Inserted by Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 14 (27-5-78).

2 . Substituted for the words "A claimant......against the decision", by Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 14 (27-5-78).

3 . Inserted by Coal Mines Natioalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 15 (27-5-78).

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Where, after meeting the claims admitted by him, of secured creditors, and unsecured creditors having priority under sub-section (2) of section 22, the total amount of claims of other unsecured creditors admitted by the Commissioner does not exceed the total amount of the money credited to the account of a coal mine, every such admitted claim shall be paid in full and the balance, if any, shall be paid to the owner, but where such amount is insufficient to meet in full the total amount of the admitted claims, all such claims shall abate in equal proportions and be paid accordingly.

24A 1*Interest on admitted claims

Notwithstanding any award, decree or order of any Court, tribunal or other authority, passed before the appointed day, in relation to any coal mine, where any amount is payable in respect of a claim admitted under this Act, the interest payable on such amount for any period after appointed day shall be at such rate not exceeding the rate of interest accruing on any amount deposited by the Commissioner under section 18.

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1 . Inserted by the Coal Mines Natioalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 16 (w.r.e.f. 1-5-73).

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Any amount in excess of payments over receipts in the statement of accounts prepared under section 19 shall be deemed to be an amount advanced by the Central Government or the Custodian, as the case may be, for the management of a coal mine during the period in which the management of such coal mine remained vested in the Central Government and the Central Government may make a claim to the Commissioner for such excess payment and such claim shall have priority over the claims of all other unsecured creditors of the claim mine, including those referred to in sub-section (2) of section 22.

Explanation.- In this section "Custodian" means the Custodian appointed under the Coal Mines (Taking Over of Management) Act, 1973.]

25A - 2*Notice to owners of coal mines and managing contractors, etc

(1) After meeting the liabilities of persons whose claims have been admitted under this Act, the Commissioner shall notify, in such manner as he may think fit, the amount of money available with him and specify in such notification a date within which the owners of the coal mines, the managing contractors and the owners of any machinery, equipment or other property which has vested in the Central Government or a Government company under this Act and which does not belong to the owners of the coal mines may apply to him for payment.

(2) Where any application is made under sub-section (1), the Commissioner shall, after satisfying himself as to the right of the applicant to receive the whole or any part of the amount, pay the amount to the person concerned and in the event of there being a doubt or dispute as to the right of the person to receive the whole or any part of the amount, the Commissioner shall deal with the application in the manner specified in sub-section (2) of section 26.]

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1.Substituted by the Coal Mines Natioalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 17 (w.r.e.f. 1-5-1973).

2. Inserted by the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 17 (27-5-78).

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(1) If out of the monies paid to him in relation to a coal mine or group of coal mines specified in the second column of the Schedule, there is a balance left after meeting the liabilities of all the secured and unsecured creditors the Commissioner shall disburse such balance to the owner of such coal mine or group of coal mines.

(2) Before making any payment to the owner of any coal mine or group of coal mines under sub-section (1), the Commissioner shall satisfy himself as to the right of such person to receive the whole or any part of such amount, and in the event of there being a doubt or dispute as to the right of the person to receive the whole or any part of the amount, referred to in sections 8 and 9, the Commissioner shall refer the matter to the Court and make the disbursement in accordance with the decision of the Court.

(3) For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the entries in the fourth column of the Schedule shall not be deemed to be conclusive as to the right, title and interest of any person in relation to any coal mine specified in the corresponding entries in the second column of the Schedule and evidence shall be admissible to establish the right, title and interest of any person in relation to such coal mine.

(4) In relation to a coal mine the operations of which were immediately before the taking over the management of such coal mine under the Coal Mines (Taking Over of Management) Act, 1973, under the control of a managing contractor, the amount specified in the fifth column of the Schedule against such coal mine shall be apportioned between the owner of the coal mine and such managing contractor in such proportions as may be agreed upon by or between the owner and such managing contractor, and in the event of there being no such agreement, in such proportions as may be determined by the Court on a reference made to it by the Commissioner.

(5) Where any machinery, equipment or other property in a Coal Mine has vested in the Central Government or a Government company under this Act, but such machinery, equipment or other property does not belong to the owner of such coal mine, the amount specified in the fifth column of the Schedule against such coal mine shall, on a reference made to it by the Commissioner, be apportioned by the Court between the owner of such coal mine and the owner of such machinery, equipment or other property having due regard to the value of such machinery, equipment or other property on the appointed day.

1*[(6) Where the amount specified in the fifth column of the Schedule is relatable to a group of coal mines, the Commissioner shall have power to apportion such amount among the owners of such group, and in making such apportionment, the Commissioner shall have regard to the highest annual production in the coal mine during the three years immediately preceding the appointed day.]

Explanation.- In this section "court", in relation to a coal mine, means the principal civil Court of original jurisdiction within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the coal mine is situated.

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1 . Inserted by the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (57 of 1986), Section. 18 (w.r.e.f. 1-5-1973).

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Any money paid to the Commissioner which remains undisbursed or unclaimed for a period of 1*[three years from the day on which the last order for disbursement was made,] shall be transferred by the Commissioner to the general revenue account of the Central Government; but a claim to any money so transferred may be preferred to the Central Government by the person entitled to such payment and shall be dealt with as if such transfer had not been made, the order, if any, for payment of the claim being treated as an order for the refund of revenue.

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1 . Substituted for the words "three years from the last day on which the disbursement was made" by the Coal Mines Nationalisation Laws (Amendment) Act (22 of 1978), Section. 18 (27-5-78).

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Last updated on June, 2016

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