Meaning Of Right To Life

The Supreme Court said that life is not restricted to the mere animal existence of a person. It means something more..

Meaning Of Personal Liberty

Personal libertymeans a personal right not to be subjected to imprisonment, arrest or other physical coercion in any manner that does not admit of legal justification.


Law in Article 21 must mean the law of the State or enacted law, and not rules of natural justice.” Patanjali Sastri J. “Law inArt. 21 means positive or State-made law.” Minority Opinion- Fazl Ali J. “Law must include certain principles of natural justice.”

Ecology/ Environment

M.C. Mehta & Another vs. UOI & Ors,[47]M.C. Mehta v. Union of India originated in the aftermath of oleum gas leak from Shriram Food and Fertilisers Ltd. complex at Delhi. This gas leak occurred soon after the infamous Bhopal gas leak and created a lot of panic in Delhi.Jurisprudence–Law–Should keep pace with changing Socio-economic norms—Where a law of the past does not fit in to the present context, Court should evolve new law. Justice Bhagwati denied the principle of strict liability and evolved new principle i.e. Principle ofAbsolute Liability.

M.C.Mehta vs. UOI[48]Justice Kuldip Singh,(14 December 1988– 21 December 1996).Supreme Court issued several guidelines to control pollution from industries in Mathura to protect Taj Mahal.

M.C.Mehta vs. UOI[49]Forty three respondents admitted that Tanneries discharged their trade effluents into the sewage nallah which led to the municipal sewage plant before they were thrown into the river Ganga. Supreme Court passed an order for closing of Tanneries and said that in spite of several statutes government did not take action .It passed directions to prevent pollution from tanneries.

Subhash Kumar vs. State of Bihar[50] Article 21-Right to live includes right to enjoyment of pollution free water and air. If anything endangers or impairs that quality of life in derogation of laws, a citizen has a right to invokeArticle 32 for removing pollution of water or air which may be detrimental to the quality of life.

Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action vs. UOI [51] The petitioner, the Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action brought this action to prohibit and remedy the pollution caused by several chemical industrial plants in Bichhri village, Udaipur District, Rajasthan. The principle of ’Polluter Pays’ was applied in this case inasmuch as “the incident involved deliberate release of untreated acidic process wastewater and negligent handling of waste sludge knowing fully well the implication of such acts.” “The cost of damage to be disbursed to the affected villagers is estimated at Rs.342.8 lakhs and remediation of impacted well waters and soil at Rs.3738.5 lakhs. This cost needs to be borne by the management of the industry in keeping with the Polluter Pays principle and the doctrine of Absolute liability, as applied to Sri Ram Food and Fertilizers Industry in the case of Oleum leak in 1985.”

Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum vs. UOI [52] Pollution which was being caused by enormous discharge of untreated effluent by the tanneries and other industries in the State of Tamil Nadu . It was stated that the tanneries are discharging untreated effluent into agricultural fields to, road-Sides, water ways and open lands. The untreated effluent was finally discharged in river Palar which was the main source of water supply to the residents of the area.

“The Precautionary Principle” and “The Polluter Pays” principle are essential features of “Sustainable Development”. The”Onus of proof”is on the actor or the developer/industrial to show that his action is environmentally benign.

M.C. Mehta vs. Kamal Nath[53]Mr. Kamal Nath was Minister of environment and Forests. Kamal Nath’s dream of having a house on the bank of the Beas in the shadow the bank of the Beas in the of the snow-capped Zanskar ranges ( Kullu-Manali, Himachal Pradesh). The Court said “We see no reason why the public trust doctrine should not be expanded to include all eco-systems operating in our natural resources. The public trust doctrine is a part of the law of the land. Our legal system – based on English Common Law – includes the public trust doctrine as part of its jurisprudence. The State is the trustee of all natural resources which are by nature meant for public use and enjoyment. Public at large is the beneficiary of the sea- shore, running waters, airs, forests and ecologically fragile lands. The State as a trustee is under a legal duty to protect the natural resources. These resources meant for public use cannot be converted into private ownership.”

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