M. C. Mehta case on protection of environment- A Link to Indian Constitution
Authored By : Sejal Sharma
In this article, we are going to discuss about the environment. With the ongoing development our nature and environment faces a lot of damages. These damages destroy the level of nature to heal itself and people have to face some natural catastrophic from this. To protect the environment, M.C.Mehta files his first environmental case in the Supreme Court of India. This article, also deals with the different case laws filed by the M.C.Mehta along with the constitutional provisions on Environment.
M.C.Mehta ; Environment ; Supreme Court ; Landmark cases ; Constitution of India
Mahesh Chandra Mehta was born in the Rajori district of Jammu and Kashmir. He is an Advocate along with the environmentalist. He has a strong commitment to protect the nature from the adverse effects of the development and other human activities. Along with this, constitution also provides some of the particular articles on the environment.
If we talk about the environment, then in literal meaning it means the surrounding comprises of all the living and the non living organisms which influence the human life. It includes both the natural and the manmade environment.
Why do we need to protect the Environment?
1.) The environment helps in protecting the ecosystem.
2.) Biodiversity is a significant part of life in the world.
3.) It provides the raw material for the various furnished goods.
4.) It is the home of various species of animals.
5.) It is useful in maintaining the earth’s balance.
These are some of the benefits and reasons of protecting the environment. Environment consisting of the plants, trees, wildlife and the other species are key source for humans to survive and the future generation.
Role of M.C.Mehta:
It was all started in the year 1984, when he visited the Taj Mahal and saw that the white marble has turned yellow due to the pollution caused by the nearby factories. This spurred the Mehta to file the first case related to environment in the Supreme Court. Then he focused on the river Ganga issue which is being used by millions of families for different purposes in getting polluted.
Taj Mahal case: - M.C.Mehta vs. UOI [AIR 1984]
There are many toxic emitting industries near the Taj Mahal and the other 255 monuments making it as the Taj trapezium. The Supreme Court gave the judgment on December 1996 by issuing the guidelines of banning the use of coal and coke and switch over to the CNG.
Ganga pollution case: - M.C.Mehta vs. UOI [AIR 1985]
The factories polluting the river Ganga are more than the 50,000 in numbers. The court ordered to 250 towns and cities to put the sewage treatment plants. 600 tanneries were put outside the main city area. As well as large number of industries were shut down until they set up effluent treatment plants.
Oleum gas leak case: - M. C. Mehta vs. UOI [AIR 1985]
This is a landmark judgment where the principle of the Absolute liability was laid down. There was a fertilizer company which is close to the human habitation. The court held to relocate the industry far away from the human inhabitation. The new chapter in the factories Act 1948 was added and the Environment Protection Act was also passed.
Kamal Nath case: - M.C.Mehta vs. Kamal Nath [AIR 1997]
He is the environmental minister, diverted the Beas River to beautify the motel and also encroached the some parts of the forest land. In this case, the court gave the principle of the exemplary damages and polluter must pays to reserve the damages caused by his acts and fine.
Coastal area zone case: -
There were lots of industrial activities in the coastal zone which damages the coastal ecology and loss to the livelihood to the fisherman. The court held that banning the construction activity within the 500mtrs of the high tide line and set a limit for the coastal states to formulate coastal management plans.
Ground water pollution case: - Indian council for Enviro-Legal Actions v. UOI [AIR 1989]
The industries in the village of Rajasthan were operating without the effluent treatment plant which toxicates the ground water and wells of 14 villages. The court held to closure of the factory and attaches the property of polluter and directs the environment ministry to recover the cost of damage to the environment.
Constitutional provisions related to the environment:-
To protect the environment is the idea of every welfare country. It is the duty of every citizen and the state to preserve and protect the environment. In the constitution of India, some articles which especially deals with the environment mentioned in both the Directive Principles of the State Policy and the Fundamental Duties.
Article 48-A: this article came after the 42nd amendment in the constitution which states that the state shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and also safe the forests and the wildlife of the country.
Article 51(A) (g): this is mentioned in the fundamental duties to protect the natural environment including the forests, lake, rivers and the wildlife and to have the compassion for the living creatures.
Article 246: this article divides the different subject matters in the union list, state list and the concurrent list. The concurrent list includes the subject matter related to the forest, wildlife, mines and the minerals.
Article 253: this article empowers the Indian government to implement the laws related to the international obligations or any decision at the international conference. Example; the implementation of guidelines of the Stockholm conference.
This is the era of development, so we need to protect the environment more along with the development. Environment is the lifeline of the humans. As the M.C.Mehta took the steps to protect the environment, we should also take cognizance of protecting the environment. Follow our fundamental duties as a citizen and the fulfillment of the directive principles of state policy as a state.
1. 35 reasons why we need to be environmentally conscious,
2. Adv. Rudra, Environmental laws and Constitutional Provisions in India,