Municipal Council, Ratlam vs Shri Vardhichand & Ors.

Municiple Council, Ratlam case
In Supreme Court of India
1980 AIR 1622, 1981 SCR (1) 97

Municipal Council, Ratlam
Shri Vardhichand & Ors.

Date of Judgement
29 July, 1980

JusticeV.R. Krishna Iyer


1. In this case residents of Ratlam city situated in state of Madhya Pradesh was the petitioners  .

2. Some of the residents of Ratlam city filed complaint before Sub Divisional Magistrate of Ratlam city alleging that municipality of that area is not constructing proper drains as required and because of excertion created by nearby slum dwellers resulted into stench and stink in that area which led public nuisance to the petitioners of the case.

3. The Sub Divisional Magistrate of Ratlam district instructed the municipality to prepare a proper development plan within 6 months of the complaint submitted by the residents of Ratlam city.

4. The directions the Sub Divisional Magistrate to the municipality was approved by High Court.

5. Afterwards the municipality came in appeal before the apex court of India and alleged that they do not have proper financial support as well as proper funds to comply with the direction given by the sub divisional magistrate of Ratlam city.

6. After that, Supreme court give direction to the municipality to follow the directions given by the Sub Divisional magistrate under Section 123 of Municipality Act , 1961and said that shortage of funds is not a defence to carry out the basic duties done by the local authorities of a particular region.

Issues raised

  • Whether by affirmative action a court can compel a statutory body to carry out duty towards community to have a proper sanitation facility at greater cost.

Arguments advanced


Municipal Council argued on the ground that the residents of that locality have chosen that area with their choice and owners of the house fully aware of the insanitary conditions prevailing there. Thereby the owner of the houses precluding their right to complaint for the in sanitary condition prevailing there. Municipal Council also contended that there were limitation of   financial resources for the construction of and provision of services to fulfill the directions given by the Sub Divisional Magistrate of Ratlam city.


Respondents argued that the Municipality of Ratlam city had failed to meet its obligations  given by the sub divisional magistrate to provide for public health including by failing to abate pollution and other hazardous waste from impacting their homes. Respondents focused to stop pollution caused by runoff from a nearby alcohol plant, mitigation of open waste that collected in open pools and poorly drained areas, mitigation of malaria resulting from standing water, and the creation of sanitary facilities to prevent the flow of human waste into their neighboring areas.


In this case the apex court upheld the decision of High court. The Supreme court instructed the Municipal Council of Ratlam to immediately follow order given by the Sub Divisional Magistrate of Ratlam city to protect the area from pollution caused by alcohol plant flowing into the neighbouring areas of the resident .Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s view affirming the Magistrate’s order. Supreme court also ordered the municipal to take necessary steps to  fulfill their obligation by providing adequate number of public laterals for specifically men and women separately along with to provide water supply and scavenging service in morning as well as in evening to ensure proper sanitation. The court also ordered that these obligations to be fulfilled within six months of court order. It was also added by the court if its order was not followed by the Municipal Corporation then it will face charge of criminal contempt of  court. Further more, court also directed State Government to provide some measures to the department responsible for malaria along with the city within specified time. The Court Further held that in case municipality feel the need of resources then it will raise its demand fromState government by elitist projects, request loans from the State Government from the savings account of public health expenditure to fulfill the resource requirement for the implementation of courts order.

Significance and critical analysis of judgement:-

As per my view ,the judgement given by the honourable judge in this case  was a milestone in the path of environmental protection.It can be easily called as landmark judgement  in environmental protection . The judiciary has viewed the human rights on one hand and the environmental protection on the other hand as the two faces of the same coin. The decision proves that judiciary is protector of fundamental right as in this case it  protected the right of each individual in relation to environment under Art. 21 of the Constitution.Therefore, according to my view the verdict given in this case is reasonable and justified.

Edited by Shuvneek Hayer
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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Vaishali Malhotra
I am Vaishali Malhotra, currently in my final year of a five year BA.LL.B.(hons.) programme at Kurukshetra University,Kurukshetra.I am up for exploring every branch in the field of law but Criminal and Environmental laws interest me the most. I have a flair for research methodology,making analysis and writing which have been further enhanced by I am very thankful for being provided this opportunity by Law Times Journal to optimally utilize and further work upon my skills. I have published various articles in different platforms. In leisure time, I like to spend time in doing legal research because I feel it interesting as well as useful not only to me but also to others by creating legal awareness through my articles