In Supreme Court of India
Writ Petition No -8209 and 8821 of 1983
Rural Litigation & Entitlement Kendra
State of U.P. & Ors.
Date of Judgement
March 12, 1985
Justice Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati , Justice Amarendra Nath Sen ,JusticeRanganath Misra
1. In this case petitioner was Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra and the respondent was State of Uttar Pradesh and others.
2. This case is generally known as “Dehradun Valley litigation case”. As we know in Mussoorie hill range of Himalayas the process of extraction of limestone is fast growing with the advancement in the technology.
3. Extraction of limestone generally done by blasting out the hills with dynamite. Blasting out the hills cause slumping because extracting deep inside the hill is a illegal activity as per the established law .
4. These activities directly or indirectly resulted to landslides which killed end number of villages residing there . Along with this it also lead to the destruction of agricultural land as well as their homes. State minister of mining prohibited mining practices in 1961 in that area.
5. But under the new system in which mining contractors lobbying with the Chief minister of the states for which they were avail to get the mining leases for 20 years which is a corrupt and nasty system.
6. On the account of ecological destruction state rejected 18 leases.
7. After that Allahabad High Court granted injunction regarding the permission to the applicants of lesses to continue with their mining processes by giving an excuse of economic destruction if they don’t allow applicants to continue with their mining processes.
8. The main case commences when Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra sends letter to the Apex court challenging environmental degradation. Supreme Court consider this letter to be as writ petition by Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra under Article 32.
9. Review was done by Supreme Court and the required reforms for mining operations and providing required funds as an administrative assistance for the reforestation of that particular area was done
10. For reviewing that area a committee was appointed named ” Bhargav commitee”.
11. The committee divided region into three parts according to the degree of adverse effect on the environment.
- The very first category A is having a very least adverse effect on
- The second category is category B in which adverse effect is more than that of categories A.
- The third category is category c in which the adverse effect is the most highest then that of above two categories.
12. These three categories were properly examined by the Bhargava committee.
Issues raised in this case: –
- Whether mining operations in Dehradun Valley violates forest conservation act of 1980?
- Whether mining operation resulted to the environmental degradation in the particular region?
- Whether quarries led to perennial water springs?
As it was writ petition that is treated as a public interest litigation that is not inter party dispute. The mining operators contended that the court should dismiss the writ petition and all the authority should be given to the administrative authorities under the Environmental Protection Act. They further contended that the authority to decide whether the operations cause destruction to the environment or not is purely of a government not the courts are responsible to decide in this matter. Court rejected all these arguments and they said that there is no conflict between Central Government and Judiciary with this regard . Along with this proper orders has been examine the actual conditions of that area by appointing a committee named “Bhargava committee”.
Judgement of this case:-
In this case,after appointing Bhargava committee and working group headed by the same person Bhargava for the examination of that area. Court came to the conclusions that category A and B are suitable for the continuation of mining operations but category “C” is not in the right position for the continuation of mining operations. Relying on the reports of working BhargavaCommittee ,the Apex court concluded that mining done in reserve forest in Dehradun Valley is an infringement of the provisions in the forest conservation act. Along with environment conservation Supreme Court is also concerned with the economic hardships that will be suffered by mine operators as well as their laborers if they ordered for the closure of the Dehradun Valley operations. To tackle this problem court ordered that rather than mining on the category C area, mining operators are to be allotted for new areas for limestone mining.
Furthermore, government of India was ordered to give employment to burgman in soil conservation and afforestation projects after the closure of operations in category c.
Significance and critical analysis of judgement:-
Everything has positive effects along with the negative effects as in the case of industrialization. According to me there must be a balance between development and degradation as said in the Doctrine of Sustainable development . Supreme Court has applied this Principal of sustainable development in its judgement by providing employment to the unemployed workman along with the closure of mining operations in the areas which creates danger for the environment. Therefore, according to my view the judgement is fully justified in its own sense.