Kishan Pathlavath
Asked October 02, 2016

Legal action against polluting companies

  • 1 Answer
  • 626 Views

Dear Sir, my name is kishan I am from Shadnagar mahaboob Nagar dist my village name Chowlapally Thanda. We are suffering from pollution in village we need to put a case on polluted companies(షాద్ నగర్ జిల్లా మహబూబ్నగర్ మా తాండ పేరు దొంతికుంట తాండ... మా తాండకు అతి దగ్గరగా chemical, old tyres and iron scrap factories చాలా ఉన్నాయి వాటి వలన మా తాండకు తీవ్రమైన వాతావరణ కాలుష్యం తో పటు తాండ రొడ్డు చెడిపోయింది.. అక్కడ ఉన్న factories లో సగానికి పై గా permission లేదు)

Answer 1

Hello Kishan,

 Your best bet would be to gather information on the polluting industries using RTI (Right to Information) under the RTI Act 2005 and then file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court of  High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad.

 

My understanding is that you are from the state of Telangana and hence you have to file the PIL in High Court of Andhra Pradesh which is the common High Court for two States of AP and Telengana. 

 

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION.

 

According to the jurisprudence of Article 32 of the Constitution of India, “The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this part is guaranteed”. Ordinarily, only the aggrieved party has the right to seek redress under Article32. However, you should file the PIL in the High Court under article 226 of the constitution. In 1981 Justice P. N. Bhagwati in case of S. P. Gupta v. Union of India, articulated the concept of PIL as follows, “Where a legal wrong or a legal injury is caused to a person or to a determinate class of persons by reason of violation of any constitutional or legal right or any burden is imposed in contravention of any constitutional or legal provision or without authority of law or any such legal wrong or legal injury or illegal burden is threatened and such person or determinate class of persons by reasons of poverty, helplessness or disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position unable to approach the court for relief, any member of public can maintain an application for an appropriate direction, order or writ in the High Court under Article 226 and in case any breach of fundamental rights of such persons or determinate class of persons, in this court under Article 32 seeking judicial redress for the legal wrong or legal injury caused to such person or determinate class of persons.” The rule of locus standi have been relaxed and a person acting bonafide and having sufficient interest in the proceeding of Public Interest Litigation will alone have a locus standi and can approach the court to wipe out violation of fundamental rights and genuine infraction of statutory provisions, but not for personal gain or private profit or political motive or any oblique consideration.

 

Through judicial intervention, please note that the principles of Strict Liability (as articulated in the famous case of Rylands Vs Fletcher) have been redefined as “Precautionary Principle’’ and “Polluter Pays Principle”.

 

Hence, you will get the relief by filing the Public Interest Litigation as a spirited citizen taking up the cause of ecological degradation in your village Chowlapally Thanda.

 

Please note that using Public Interest Petitions under article 32 of the Constitution, the Pollution Control Boards along with public spirited persons like you have found a strong ally for redressal of public grievances concerning pollution and environmental degradation.

 

This question is important because it deals with our fundamental rights. The Supreme Court has held that right to environment is a fundamental right included in right to life under article 21 of the constitution of India.

Everyone in your village has a right to enjoy clean surroundings. The State also has a duty to protect the environment as provided in article 51-A of the constitution.

Even section 277 of the IPC 1860 (Indian penal code) makes polluting the water bodies’ crime. The text of the section states whoever volun­tarily corrupts or fouls the water of any public spring or reser­voir, so as to render it less fit for the purpose for which it is ordinarily used, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.

Sec 278 states that whoever voluntarily vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighborhood or passing along a public way, shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees. So the environmental rights and human rights are interlinked and inseparable, hence the people should be aware of the remedies available to them to enforce their right.

 

RIGHT TO INFORMATION.

Right to information which is a fundamental right flowing from article 19(1) (a) of the constitution has been recognized by the supreme court in the environmental laws. The way to lodge a complaint against water pollution appears to be quite simple. A person can file a petition obtaining documents on the suspect industries under the right of information provision and then file a PIL under article 32 and 224 of the constitution in the appellate courts seeking the remedy and prosecuting the pollutants.

 But this is not as simple as it appears to be. The procedure is quite complicated and costly.

Firstly the RTI gets trapped in the procedural aspects. If you file an RTI to the pollution control board for obtaining information against any pollutant firm the PCB can deny giving such information under section 123 and 124 of the Indian Evidence act if it thinks it is in national interest to do so.

 

Names of the Acts that you can use are the following against the polluting industries in your village are:

·         Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

·         Biological Diversity Act, 2002

·         Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

·         Forest Conservation Act, 1980

·         Hazardous Waste Handling and Management Act, 1989

·         Indian Forest Act, 1927

·         National Green Tribunal Act, 2010

·         Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution), 1974

 

You do have hope for Speedy justice after the establishment of National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2010

 

The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. The civil court has now lost its right to admit complaint regarding this issue. The NGT has insured only speedy trial for cases of pollution and environmental degradation but there is a need for reformatory changes in order to encourage more and more citizens like you to turn up for filing complaints against the pollution causing industries by the polluting companies.

 

Hence, use the RTI route to get maximum information on the polluting industries of your village and then file a PIL in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh for speedy relief.

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