ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT

M C MEHTA vs. UNION OF INDIA
In early 1984, M.C. Mehta, a public interest attorney, visited the Taj Mahal for the first time. He saw that the famed monument's marble had turned yellow and was pitted as a result of pollutants from nearby industries. This spurred Mehta to file his first environmental case in the Supreme Court of India. The following year, Mehta learned that the Ganges River, considered to be the holiest river in India and used by millions of people every day for bathing and drinking water, caught fire due to industrial effluents in the river. Once again Mehta filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the polluting factories and the scope of the case was broadened to include all the industries and municipalities in the river basin.

every Friday. While the Ganges cases continued to be heard every week. .000 factories along the river were directed to install pollution control devices and 300 factories were closed. Another 300 factories were put on notice to do the same.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. after a decade of court battles and threats from factory owners. In 1993. Approximately 250 towns and cities in the Ganges Basin have been ordered to set up sewage treatment plants. 5. the Supreme Court ordered 212 small factories surrounding the Taj Mahal to close because they had not installed pollution control devices. UNION OF INDIA For years. a courtroom has been set aside just for Mehta's cases.

. He has also been working to ban intensive shrimp farming and other damaging activities along India's 7. a record that may be un-equaled by any other environmental lawyer in the world.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. He has almost single handily obtained about 40 landmark judgements and numerous orders from the Supreme Court against polluters. Mehta has succeeded in getting new environmental policies initiated and has brought environmental protection into India's constitutional framework. UNION OF INDIA Mehta has won additional precedent-setting suits against industries which generate hazardous waste and succeeded in obtaining a court order to make lead-free gasoline available.000 kilometres coast.

iron foundries. The Supreme Court of India delivered a historic Judgment in December 1996. The apex Court gave various directions including banning the use of coal and coke and directing the industries to switch over to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). the Taj Mahal and 255 other historic monuments within the Taj trapezium were facing serious threat because of acid rain. UNION OF INDIA 1.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. TAJ MAHAL CASE Taj Mahal. As a result of very high toxic emissions from these industries. glass and other chemical industries. one of the wonders of the world and the pride of India was facing serious threat from pollution caused by Mathura Refinery. The Petition was filed in the year 1984. .

GANGA POLLUTION CASE Three landmark judgments and a number of Orders against polluting industries numbering more than fifty thousand in the Ganga basin passed from time to time.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. UNION OF INDIA 2. As a result of these directions millions of people have been saved from the effects of air and water pollution in Ganga basin covering 8 states in India. more than 250 towns and cities have been ordered to put sewage treatment plants. Six hundred tanneries operating in highly congested residential area of Kolkata have been shifted out of the City and relocated in a planned Leather Complex in the State of West Bengal. apart from industries. A substantial success has been achieved by way of creating awareness and controlling pollution in the river Ganges. In this case. A large number of industries were closed down by the Court and were allowed to reopen only after these industries set up effluent treatment plants and controlled pollution. .

UNION OF INDIA 3. In this case. Hundreds of industries operating in conformity with the master plan in 28 industrial areas were ordered to set up Common Effluent Treatment Plants at 15 places to control pollution. in 1996 the apex Court ordered the closure of major polluting and hazardous industries from Delhi and their relocation in the neighbouring states. More than 1300 major polluting and hazardous industries were closed down in Delhi. Seeing the defiant attitude of the industries a petition was filed in the Supreme Court. .000 operating in nonconforming areas in Delhi had also been asked to close down their operations and shift them to conforming areas.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. these industries continued to operate in Delhi in violation of the Master Plan and Environmental laws. RELOCATION OF 90000 POLLUTING INDUSTRIES OPERATING IN DELHI: in Delhi. Industries numbering more than 90. Despite their ban.

A retired Judge of the Supreme Court was appointed along with three members to recommend measures for the nationwide control of vehicular pollution. VEHICULAR POLLUTION CASE: Against vehicular pollution in India the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment in 1992. As a result of this case.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. COG outlets have been set up to provide CNG as a clean fuel in Delhi and other cities in India apart from Euro 2 norms. . Delhi has become the first city in the world to have complete public transportation running on CNG. Orders for providing Lead free petrol in the country and for the use of natural gas and other mode of fuels for use in the vehicles in India have been passed and carried out. all new cars registered from April 1995 onwards have been fitted with catalytic convertors. Leadfree petrol had been introduced in the four metropolitan cities from April 1995. UNION OF INDIA 4.

ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. UNION OF INDIA 5. . DELHI SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT CASE: About 10 million people living in Delhi and millions of people living along the banks of river Yamuna were exposed to health hazards from water contamination due to total absence of sewage treatment plant in many areas of Delhi. A time bound programme was given by the Supreme Court to the Delhi Municipal Corporation for setting up of treatment plant in 16 different localities in this case.

194 children illegally detained in different jails in Orissa were released. The Supreme Court directed all the States to identify children forced into labour and come out with schemes for their rehabilitation. Child labour in hazardous industries has been banned. Thus ambit of the case was widened to include child labour in the whole country.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. more than one million children working in hazardous industries in Tamil Nadu and other States in India were benefited. In another case. . CHILD LABOUR CASE By raising issue of exploitation of child labour in Sivakasi (Tamil Nadu) match and fireworks factories. UNION OF INDIA 6.

Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in a totally unplanned. praying for the protection of coastal ecology and lives and livelihood of thousands of small farmers and fishermen. The Supreme Court of India banned intensive prawn culture within 500 mtrs of High Tide Line and within 1000 mtrs of Chilka Lake and Pullicat Lake. .ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. uprooted small farmers and destroyed the livelihood of lakhs of fishermen. An Authority under the Chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court Judge was ordered to to be constituted by the Central Govt. A writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court in the name of S. unscientific and unscrupulous manner. AQUACULTURE CASE: Big industrial houses and multinationals had started commercial prawn farming in a big way in the coastal states of Orissa. and in the process. a Gandhian working for the weaker sections in the coastal area of Tamil Nadu. destroyed large areas of rich fertile lands. Jagannathan. UNION OF INDIA 7. under Environment Protection Act 1986 to implement the principles of 'Precautionary Principle' and the 'Polluter Pays Principle' to assess the loss to ecology and recover the cost of eco-restoration and amount of compensation from the polluters. caused salinity in the ground water.

UNION OF INDIA 7.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. a minimum 5 to 7 minutes will be given by the television network in the country to televise programmes on environment apart from giving a regular weekly programme on environment. AQUACULTURE CASE: Succeeded in getting orders from the Court that all over the country the cinema theaters will exhibit two slides free of cost on environment in each show failing which their licenses will be cancelled. Environment has become a compulsory subject up to 12th standard from academic session 1992 and University Grants Commission will also introduce this subject in higher classes in different Universities. .

ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. Environment has become a compulsory subject up to 12th standard from academic session 1992 and University Grants Commission will also introduce this subject in higher classes in different Universities. ENVIRONMENT AWARENESS & EDUCATION CASE: Succeeded in getting orders from the Court that all over the country the cinema theaters will exhibit two slides free of cost on environment in each show failing which their licenses will be cancelled. UNION OF INDIA 8. . a minimum 5 to 7 minutes will be given by the television network in the country to televise programmes on environment apart from giving a regular weekly programme on environment.

ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. 1992. 212 stone crushers were shifted out of Delhi to a 'Crushing Zone' set up in Haryana by an order of the Supreme Court on May 15th. DUST POLLUTION CASE: In a historic case. UNION OF INDIA 9. Emission of more than 1500 tons of dust emitted daily in the atmosphere has been eliminated. .

Govt. Minister for Environment and Forests.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. The Supreme Court of India recognized Polluter Pays Principle and Public Trust Doctrine.00. .000) on the Span motel as exemplary damages. KAMAL NATH CASE: In the State of Himachal Pradesh. The Court delivered a land mark judgment and established principle of exemplary damages for the first time in India. owned by the family members of Shri Kamal Nath. of Himachal Pradesh and remove all sorts of encroachments. The Court said that polluter must pay to reverse the damage caused by his act and imposed a fine of Rs Ten Lakhs (Rs 10. Span motel. UNION OF INDIA 10. The apex court ordered the management of the Span motel to hand over forest land to the Govt. of India diverted the Course of river Beas to beautify the motel and also encroached upon some forest land.

COASTAL AREAS CASE : Despite Coastal Zone Regulation Notification of February 1991. none of the coastal states had formulated coastal zone management plan. A writ petition was filed on behalf of Indian Council for Enviro Legal Action (ICELA) and the Supreme Court delivered a landmark Judgment banning industrial/ construction activity within 500 mtrs of the High Tide Line and set a time limit for the coastal states to formulate coastal management plans. . with the result that haphazard construction and industrial activity was being permitted anywhere in the coast leading to large scale damage to coastal ecology and loss of livelihood to lakhs of fishermen and other indigenous communities dependent on marine resources.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. UNION OF INDIA 11.

ANTOP HILL CASE : In the heart of Mumbai at Antop Hill. a large-scale chemicals storage center for hazardous chemicals was being proposed to be set up flouting all environmental considerations and safety of more than 1. A case was filed in the Supreme Court and timely action stopped the authorities/industries from locating such godowns.5 million people living in and around that area.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. . UNION OF INDIA 12.

ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. . students and teachers in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). GAMA CHAMBERS CASE : Due to filing of case against radiation from a Gamma Chamber. Delhi were saved from hazardous radiation. UNION OF INDIA 13.

owned by a single owner. 5 small chemical industries. of India to recover the cost of ecorestoration from the industries held responsible for causing damage to the environment. GROUND WATER POLLUTION CASE : In Rajasthan at Bichhri.ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT M C MEHTA vs. were operating without effluent treatment plant. 1818 . UNION OF INDIA 14. Toxic effluents from the industries entered the ground water and wells of 14 villages became affected. After six years of battle in the Court. the Supreme Court delivered a Judgment in March 1996 directing the closure of the factories and attached the property of the polluter and directed the Department of Environment and Forests Govt.

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