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TARUN BHARAT SANGH V. UNION OF INDIA AND ORS. (1991)

Parties Involved

PetitionersTARUN BHARAT SANGH
RespondentUNION OF INDIA AND ORS. (1991)
Citation: (1993) SUP (3) SCC 115

Facts of the case

The case was related to illegal mining in Rajasthan. In this case the petitioner was a voluntary organization which was active in shielding the environment, approached the court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, 1950. The petitioner complained about the unlawful mining that was going on in the area of Tiger Reserve in Alwar District in the State of Rajasthan. It stated that for the larger interest of environment, ecology and rule of law; the activity should stop. Further, it was alleged by the petitioner that the area, where the activity of mining was going on was declared as a tiger reserve under the Rajasthan Wild Animals and Birds Protection Act, 1951, as a sanctuary and National Part under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and as a protected forest under the Rajasthan Forest Act, 1953. As per all these notification, the government forbid all illegal mining. But the state government had also granted many licenses for mining marble, dolomite, and other material and such section was completely contrary of law. The court in this case issued notice to the government of state and the respondents. Further an interlocutory direction was issued to stop mining operation in the protection 22 area. A committee was also appointed by the court under the chairmanship of former judge of the state High Court to ensure that there was an observance of various acts and notification in regard to the protected area. The committee was asked to demarcate those areas which were declared as protected forest under the notification issued by Rajasthan Government.

Issues

  • Were the mining activities in Alwar district illegal mining as per the Environment Protection Act, 1986?
  • Was the area where the mining activities were carried out a protected area?

Provisions

  • Article 32 of the Constitution of India, 1950.
  • Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
  • Section 29 of the Rajasthan Forest Act, 1953
  • Rule 4(6) of the Rajasthan Miner Mineral Concession Rules, 1986.
  • Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Rule 4 (6) of the Rajasthan Minor Mineral A Concession Rules, 1986

Judgement

The court observed and analysed the submission made by the parties and stated that this was not only a case where the court is called upon to stop an activity being carried on lawfully, that was done in the name of higher consideration of environment and ecology. But this is the case where the court was called upon to observe the enacted laws made by the state to conserve and shield the ecology of the area. In such a case, the court never be pressurized by consideration of balancing the economic interest and ecological interest which has already been done by the legislature of state and Parliament. The court in this case stated that once an area was pronounced as a protected forest, then it comes within the meaning of Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. No non-forest area can be carried out on the said area except with the approval of the Central Government. So the mining activity amounts to the non-forest activity which is beyond the dispute. Therefore, mining and their renewal by the government of the state without the permission taken from Central Government is contrary to law. So, the apex court, in this case, held that no mining operation of any nature shall be continued within the protected area. The court-appointed a committee for the enforcement of the notification and its direction. All the concerned authorities were ordered to extend their support to the committee.

Analysis

In this case, it was proved that judicial activism has opened a new dimension in protection of environment and granting social justice. Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, the central government has the power to constitute or authorize any other authorities for proper implementation of duties and powers. In this case rule 4 (6) of the Rajasthan Minor Mineral A Concession Rules, 1986 was invoked in which no mining lease could have renewed within the forest , when the clearance for the same has not been taken from Central Government as per the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

Written By Pritha Sarkar