In Supreme Court of India
Appeal (civil) No :1251 of 2006
Intellectuals Forum, Tirupathi
State Of A.P & Ors
Date of Judgement
23 Feb. 2006
Justice Ruma Pal, Justice Dr. A.R Lakshmanan
1. In this case writ petition was filed by registered name the”Intellectual Forum” where appellants complained regarding the systematic destruction of percolation, irrigation and drinking water tanks in their town with the alienation of the tank bed land to the Urban Development Authority and AP Housing board for the urban development of land.
2. The appellants explain that these tanks have many usages like for irrigation purpose, percolation of water to increase the groundwater level.
3. On the other hand court analysis the real scenario of the situation and come across to the outcome that itself cannot prevent the state or the government for urban development in the cost of environment.
4. It was noticed by the court’s intervention in the activities of Government in establishment of Urban Development they will lead to the destruction of human life by forcing migrants to live in slum areas.
5. As because of unemployment and poverty people from rural areas migrate to urban areas is very common. Court also stressed on the fact that tank was a communal property and the whole responsibility was given to the trustees of state authorities to manage such property for the Welfare of society.
6. In the sake of providing basic right to shelter to each and every individual court declared as legal.
7. After considering all facts and issues clear the no for the construction is allowed and already constructed houses must be have a structure for rooftop rainwater harvesting.
8. Furthermore, no construction of bore well or tube well in that particular area.
- Whether the Urban Development Authority could be given primacy over the need protect environment?
- Whether the need of principle of sustainable development can be ignored over and above the Urban Development?
- Whether There is a conflict of public interest ?
- Whether the action of Arunachal Pradesh Government intaking the impunged decisions is permissible under the light of Article 21 of Indian Constitution ?
Firstly, appellant from division bench of High Court of Andhra Pradesh where it was evidenced that tanks being in existence and were being put to use not only for irrigation purposes but also as lakes which were furthering percolation to improve the groundwater table serving the needs of the people of the town and around the towns.
The major argument by the appellant was that the development of towns focusesonly on the economic growth of the people by ignoring the importance and primacy attached to the protection of environment and the production of valuable resources that is freshwater resources.
Moreover, they also contended about the visit of engineering team which suggest some measures for the improvement of feeder channels for Peru tank and Avalalla tank for the improvement of water table in tanks .
Mr. P.S. Narasimha, learned counsel submitted that the tank which is in question was abandoned as far back as in the year 1992. He further contended that Tank area was bulldozed and the entire land was levelled .It was also observed that even after sinking that well to a depth of all about 60 feet, the land was not receiving any water from any ground. Therefore, proposal for abandonment of tank was applied to the district collector by the Revenue Divisional officer. After that public notices were published for any inviting objections related to the same matter but no objections were filed by a single individual.
As per the Respondents contention, the Tank in dispute has been shown in Resettlement Register `A’. For the purpose of change of classification from tank poramboke to ayan, `A’ notice was published in the Avilala Village displaying the said notices at the conspicuous places which is statutory and no objections were received and as stated already, consent letters were given by the individual for the abandonment of the tank.
Supreme Court stressed that in recent times because of poverty migration of people from rural areas to urban areas was a common phenomenon. Because of the limited infrastructure of the towns the towns were becoming slums. Supreme Court therefore could not prevent the government from proceeding of town development in question.
On the other hand, the tank was only a communal property and the government authorities what the trustees to manage such properties for the Welfare of the society. According to Supreme Court, not allowed to commit any act which is against to right of the community. Therefore, right to shelter can’t be taken away from the public according to Supreme Court. Another aspect was money spent by the respondents for the development of land, But merely on these fact court can’t ignore the destruction of environment at large. Thus, disposed of the appeals and give guidelines to be followed then open the construction is allowed and the houses which is already been made providing test capture for the rooftop rainwater harvesting to recharge the groundwater and no further tube well or borewell was allowed in that area.
Significance and critical analysis of the judgement:-
As per my view the judgement given by the court is reasonable and justified as in the reasoning of the judgement itself honorable judges stated that they can’t ignore anyone side of the picture. As a residential buildings planned by the authority were mainly constructed for middle class families and the who does not want to deprive them for there basic necessity that is right to shelter. Along with this the decision not only solely based upon the right to shelter or urban development but also to the protection, conservation and safeguarding natural resources that is water resources in the present case. Therefore the court acted in a justified manner by disposing of the appeals along with the order directing each house to built a for rooftop rainwater harvesting to recharge the groundwater level.