ARBITRATION AND CONCILLIATION ACT, 1996

Relevant Topic

Key Issue

Summary Judgement

MANU Citation

Colourable exercise of power at the expense of general public- It means that legislature cannot legislate matters upon which it is not otherwise competent to legislate

Whether allotment of open space for constuction of hospital which was originally reserved for public park or playground infringes the basic values of individual freedom, dignity and quality of life.

Facts: Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) allotted open space for construction of hospital. The alloted site had been earlier reserved for public park or playground. Such allotment was challenged by residents of locality on the ground of being contrary to provisions of Act and legislative intent to protect and preserve environment.

Held: The court held that any act which affects the basic values of individual freedom, dignity and quality of life guaranteed to all the citizens is directy conflicting with the constitutional mandate.

Bangalore Medical Trust vs. B.S. Muddappa and Ors. (19.07.1991 - SC) : MANU/SC/0426/1991

Sustainable Development- It is a type of development in which the use of resources is done in a compromising manner so that it can be preserved for the future generations as well.

Whether mining activities exploited the environment in such a manner so as to harm the needs of the future geenration.

Fact: It was the first case which involved issues relating to environment and ecological imbalance. In this case the respondent filed a case against the mining activities which denuded the Mussorie Hills of trees and forest cover and accelerated soil erosion. Such activites resulted in land slides and blockage of underground water channels.

Held: Court ordered the closure of number of limestone quarries and introduced the concept of "Sustainable Development" which stated that natural resources should be used in an adequate manner so as to safeguard it for the future generations.

Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun and Ors. vs. State of U.P. and Ors. (Dehradun Quarrying case) (12.03.1985 - SC) : MANU/SC/0043/1985

Environmental damage will be a greater loss than unemployment

Whether unemployment overrides environmental damage.

Facts: This case was filed by M.C. Mehta against the leather tanneries, which were polluting the river Ganga by letting effluents into the river.

Held: The court issued directions for the closure of the tanneries which have failed to take steps for primary treatment of industrial effluents and held that "closure of tanneries may bring unemployment, loss of revenue, but life, health and ecology have greater importance to the people".

M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (Ganga Tanneries) (22.09.1987 - SC) : MANU/SC/0396/1987

No Fault Liability- If a person commits any mistake, he is individually liable for it. In the given scenario the priniciple of 'no fault liability states that an individual even not being at fault is liable for the loss caused to the environment at large.

Whether right to life includes right to clean environment.

Facts: The petitioner filed a case for closure of Shriram industries as it was engaged in manufacturing of hazardous substances. While the petition was pending, there was leakage of oleam gas from one of its unis which caused death and health harm to several people. The issue involved in this case was to determine the scope of right to live in a clean environment.

Held: The court introduced new "no fault " liability standard i.e. absolute liability. An industry engaged in hazardous activities which poses a potential danger to health and safety of the persons working and residing near owes an absolute and non-delegable duty to the community to ensure that no harm results to anyone. Such industry must conduct its activities with highest standards of safety and if any harm results, the industry must be absolutely liable to compensate for such harm.

M.C. Mehta and Ors. vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (Shriram GasLeak Case) (17.02.1986 - SC) : MANU/SC/0291/1986

Strict Liability- This principle evolved in the case of Rylands Vs. Fletcher and means that even in absence of any intent or fault, a person is legally held responsible for the consequences of his hazardous or abnormally dangerous activites.

Whether the person who brings a hazardous substance or does abnormally dangerous activites directly liable for any loss caused due to such act.

Facts: The case involved claim of relief to victims of accident caused due to hazardous activities.

Held: The court observed that the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 places a 'strict liability' in cases of accidents due to hazardous substances. The owner cannot escape liabiity on the ground that insurance policy was not taken by him.

U.P. State Electricity Board and Ors. vs. District Magistrate and Ors. (17.02.1997 - ALLHC) : MANU/UP/0466/1997

Absolute Liability - This principle means that if an individual is engaged in an inherently dangerous or hazardous activity, and if any harm is caused to any person due to any accident which occurred during carrying out such inherently dangerous and hazardous activity, then the person who is carrying out such activity will be held absolutely liable.

Whether carrying out inherently dangerous and hazardous activity and causing accident while performing such activity makes an individual absolutely liable.

Facts: The tragedy was a result of the leak of the methyl isocyanate gas from the respondent's plant which manufactured pesticides. The gas leak is considered to be the most toxic chemical in industrial use. All around the city of Bhopal, people were exposed to this gas and the immediate effects of inhaling the gas were coughing, vomiting, severe eye irritation and a feeling of suffocation. Thousands of people died immediately and lakhs of people sustained permanent injuries.

Held: Court observed that plant was an inherently dangerous and hazardous and further discussed the concept of 'no fault liability', 'absolute liability' at a great length.

Union Carbide Corporation and Ors. vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (Bhopal Gas Leak Case) (03.10.1991 - SC) : MANU/SC/0058/1992

Right to profess religion does not override the Right to Environment-

Whether right to religion override the right to pollution free environment.

Facts: The appellant contended that the right to profess a religion is guaranteed under Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution. The question involved in this case was that in a secular country like India, can a particular community,sect of the community, claim the right to add to the noise pollution on the ground of religion.

Held: The court observed that right to religion guranteed under Article 25 and 26 of the constitution is subject to public order and morality and no religion preahed to perfom prayers on large amplifiers causing inconvenience and health hazard to other people.

Church of God (Full Gospel) in India vs. K.K.R. Majestic Colony Welfare Association and Ors. (Church Case) (30.08.2000 - SC) : MANU/SC/0537/2000

Polluter Pays Principle- As the term suggests, this principle means that the person who commits the offence of polluting the environment is solely responsible to compensate for managing the harm caused to public health at large.

Whether the polluter causing pollution in the environment is liable to compensate for the loss caused.

Facts: The petitioner brought this action to prohibit and remedy the pollution caused by several chemical industrial plants in Bichhri village, Rajasthan. The Respondents operated heavy industry plants there, producing chemicals such as oleum causing serious pollution in the environment. These plants used to function without obtaining permits and the toxic water emitted by them were left untreated to be absorbed by the earth. Several people from the village were affected as the soil became unfit for cultivation and caused major health hazards.

Held: Court noted the finding in Oleum Gas Leak case and held that the cost of making good the loss caused should lie with the undertakings which cause pollution, hence adopting the "Polluter Pays Principle" and the absolute liability lies with the polluter himself.

Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action and Ors. vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (Bichhri Case) (13.02.1996 - SC) : MANU/SC/1112/1996

Constitutional Duty of State and Citizens

Whether the state is under a consitutional duty to protect the environment.

Facts:

This case was against indicriminate grant of mining leases and unscientific expolitation of mines especially in the hilly areas and regions of Himalayas. It was the first case which involved issues relating to environment and ecological imbalance. it was alleged that the government arbitrarily granted permissions for such activity without taking into account the environmental impact and violation of rights of citizens. Held: Court ordered closure of mines and operations thereof and total ban on grant or renewals of leases and pointed out the constitutional duty of the State and citizens not only to protect but also to improve the environment and to preserve and safeguard the forest, flora and fauna.

Kinkri Devi and Anr. vs. State of Himachal Pradesh and Ors. (29.05.1987 - HPHC) : MANU/HP/0002/1988

Right to clean environment - It means that right to life is not exclusive of right to wholesome environment.

Whether right to life includes right to wholesome environment.

Fact: This case was based on demand made by the petitioner for cleaning the city. The petitioner contended that several areas in Jaipur city were in unhygenic conditions and the Municipality is not performing its duty.

Held: The Court appreciated the action of the petitioner who as a citizen, highlighted the problem of the city and brought to the notice the conditions which were hazardous to the life of citizens as it is their fundamental right to get clean environment . Further, the court directed the municipality to remove dirt, filth etc. from the city within the period of six months.

L.K. Koolwal vs. State of Rajasthan and Ors. (19.09.1986 - RAJHC) : MANU/RH/0002/1988

Revolutionising the mode of transport

Whether the state is under a consitutional duty to protect the environment.

Facts: Supreme Court's concern on Delhi's air pollution problem originated when the city's polluted air was slowly poisoning its citizens. M. C. Mehta filed a Public Interest

Litigation (PIL) suit in the Supreme Court against the Union of India in 1985, charging that existing environmental laws obligated the government to take steps to reduce air pollution in Delhi in the interests of public health.

Held: Supreme Court held that the directive principles of state policy cast a duty upon the State to secure the health of the people, improve public health and protect and improve the environment. It was by reasons of failure to discharge its consitutional duties, the court passed various orders/directions to tackle the acute problem of vehicular pollution in Delhi

M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (05.04.2002 - SC) : MANU/SC/1430/2002

Polluter Pays Principle- As the term suggests, this principle means that the person who commits the offence of polluting the environment is solely responsible to compensate for managing the harm caused to public health at large. Precautionary Priniciple- it means, if some activity causes harm to the environment or public at large then such activities should be performed with precautions or precautionary principles should be adopted.

Whether the polluter causing harm to the environment be made to compensate for the loss caused to the environment.

Facts: Petitioners file a public interest litigation against large scale pollution caused to River Palar due to discharge of untreated effluents by the tanneries and other industries in State of Tamil Nadu. The pollution affected agricultural land as it became unfit for cultivation.

Held: The Court admitted that although the tanneries provide employment to large number of people and is a good source of foreign exchange reserves but environmental damage caused is much greater loss than any other loss . Further, the court enhanced the concept of "Polluter Pays Principle" and the "Precautionary principles" and acknowledged the urgency required in eradicating environmental damage.

Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (28.08.1996 - SC) : MANU/SC/0686/1996

Polluter Pays Principle- As the term suggests, this principle means that the person who commits the offence of polluting the environment is solely responsible to compensate for managing the harm caused to public health at large.

Whether professional growth is of gretaer importance than environment protection.

Facts: The respondent company encroached upon a land which included forest land. Such encroachment had an impact on the course of River Beas. For more than five months the respondent used bulldozers and earth movers to change the course of the river. Ultimately, such prolonged activities casued flooding of river and large number of properties were destroyed.

Held: Applying the "Polluter Pays Principle" , the Supreme Court awarded damages for degrading and disturbing the ecology of the area. Further, the court also held that environmental pollution is a civil wrong committed against the whole community.

M.C. Mehta vs. Kamal Nath and Ors. (Span Motel Case) (13.12.1996 - SC) : MANU/SC/1007/1997

Right to practice any profession or carry on any business activity should not cause irreversible environmental damage

Whether right to practice anu profession comes with a constitutional duty to protect the environment.

Facts: The petitioners were discharging dirty water from the factory into public drainages and public usage roads without even purifying the same ,thereby causing environmental hazards.

Held: Court held that any business activity which becomes a health hazard for public at large cannot be asserted as a right to carry on business without paying any regard to the fundamental duty provided under Article 51A(g) to protect and preserve the natural environment.

Abhilash Textile and Ors. vs. The Rajkot Municipal Corporation (05.08.1987 - GUJHC) : MANU/GJ/0095/1988

Protection of Cultural Heritage - Grounded in the principle of subsidiarity, this challenge demands a collective effort by local, regional, national authorities.

Whether protection of cultural heritage demads a collective effort of all the individuals.

Facts: The petitioner filed this case against the hazardous refineries, chemical industries of Mathura. He contended that they were the major source of emission of sulphur dioxide and polluting the environment which in turn will affect the Heritage of India and also affect the environment around in a negative manner.

Held: Court held that Taj mahal is a part of national and international heritage and must be preserved and protected from damage due to environmental pollution. It banned the use of coal and cake in the city and directed the usage of Compressed Natural Gas to the industries.

M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (Taj Trapezium Case) (30.12.1996 - SC) : MANU/SC/0175/1997

Precautionary Priniciple- it means, if some activity causes harm to the environment or public at large then such activities should be performed with precautions or precautionary principles should be adopted.

Whether development can be done at the cost of the environment.

Facts: A Public Interest Litigation was initiated against Sardar Sarovar Project which consisted of construction of a large dam on river Narmada. It was alleged that even if the project is otherwise would make a positive impact on preservation of ecology as a whole but this project will also lead to ecological destructon.

Held: The court held that in the case at ahnd, constrcution of dam is neither a nuclear establishment nor a polluting industry. The court considered the doctrine of precautionary principle and observed that it is to be employed only in cases of pollution when its impact is uncertain and non-negligible.

Narmada Bachao Andolan vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (18.10.2000 - SC) : MANU/SC/0640/2000

Nexus between Right to Life Under Article 21 & Right to Environment- It means that right to life is not exclusive of right to wholesome environment.

Whether right to life includes right to wholesome environment.

Facts: In this case the residents and rate payers of the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation who were living around the demarked area for the development of a park challenged the action of the Municipality allowing Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and Income Tax Department (I.T. Department) to construct residential houses in the area demarked for public park. They prayed the Court to direct the Municipal Corporation to develop the entire area as Public Park according to the development plan.

Held: The court held that the right to environment is part of the right to life guaranteed by Art. 21 of the Constitution of India. It was also said, "the

slow poisoning by the polluted atmosphere caused by environmental pollution

and spoilage should also be regarded as amounting to violation of Art. 21 of the

Constitution."

T. Damodhar Rao and Ors. vs. The Special Officer, Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad and Ors. (20.01.1987 - APHC) : MANU/AP/0222/1987

Protection of Animals Abuse- Flora and fauna are a part of our environment and suh kind of treatment with the animals is equally harmful for the enviroment.

Whether protection of flora and fauna, a part of the environment protection.

Facts: Jallikattu refers to different traditional events and practices which all aim at the taming of bulls, usually taking place in an arena. AWBI investigators reported several violations of the PCA Act at each stage of the event, prior to the release of the bulls, during the event, and after the event. Investigators observed that abuses were rampant in the waiting area and included mutilation of the of the body parts. Prior to their release, animals are poked, beaten and deliberately agitated, irritant solutions rubbed into their eyes and nose ropes frequently pulled, yanked or tightened. Question in this case was whether the events that are being conducted in the States of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are in violation of Sections 3, 11(1)(a)& (m), 21 and 22 of the PCA Act read with Articles 51A(g) and (h) of the Constitution.

Held: The practice of jallikattu was held to be in violation of Section 3, 11(1)(a), 11(1)(m)(ii) and 22 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 because the pain, suffering and anxiety inflicted to bulls during Jallikattu events is solely for human pleasure and can thus be avoided.

Animal Welfare Board of India vs. A. Nagaraja and Ors. (07.05.2014 - SC) : MANU/SC/0426/2014

Compensation on account of deforestation- It is similar to the principle of polluter pays where the destroyer has to compensate for destroying the environment.

Whether the polluter causing harm to the environment be made to compensate for the loss caused to the environment.

Facts: A writ petition was filed with the Supreme Court of India to protect the Nilgiris forest land from deforestation by illegal timber operations.

Held: The court ordered all non-forest activity like sawmills and mining to be suspended in forest areas and stopped felling of trees. Forest Conservation Act was enacted with view to check further deforestation which results in ecological imbalance.

T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (12.12.1996 - SC) : MANU/SC/0278/1997