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Polluter Pays Principle


Presented by Mr Shamsuddin

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Polluter Pays Principle


It is now recognized that pollution is a form of waste and a symptom of inefficiency in industrial production. Hence it was just and necessary to device various kinds of measures to prevent and minimize industrial pollution.

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Polluter Pays Principle


The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in its report (1987) " has suggested that the environment cost of economic activity shall be internalized (accept) by the enterprises. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (1972) (OECD) for the first time agreed to base their environmental policies on 'polluter pays principle' and it was recommended as an "essentially economic efficiency measure to internalize environmental costs".

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Polluter Pays Principle


Principle 16 of the Rio Declaration proclaims that "national authorities should endeavour (try to do) to promote the internalization of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution with due regard to the public interest and without distorting (without change) international trade and investment".

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Polluter Pays Principle


The Supreme Court of India in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India 1987 has impliedly applied the polluter pays principle to deal with the problem caused by the oleum gas leakage from the Shriram Food and Fertilizer Corporation.

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Polluter Pays Principle


The Supreme Court for the first time applied the polluter pays principle explicitly in Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India 1996 The court held that the polluting industries are "absolutely liable to compensate for the harm caused by them to the villagers in the affected area, to the soil and to the underground water and hence they are bound to take all necessary measures to remove sludge and other pollutants lying in the affected areas".

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Polluter Pays Principle


Vellore Citizen's Welfare Forum v. Union of India 1996 The Supreme Court has held that the polluter pays principle is an essential feature of sustainable development. The Court observed that the polluter pays principle means that the absolute liability for harm to the environment extents not only to compensate the victims of pollution but also the cost of restoring the environmental degradation.

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Vellore Citizen's Welfare Forum v. Union of India 1996 The Court further declared that the polluter pays principle has been accepted as part of the law of the land. The Court also observed that the polluter pays principle has been accepted as customary international law and hence it becomes a part of the law of this country. The court directed the Central Government to constitute an authority to assess the damages caused to the environment by the effluents released by the tanneries. In accordance to this direction, the 'Loss of Ecology Authority' was constituted.

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Loss of Ecology Authority


The Authority so constituted was directed to implement the polluter pays principle. The Authority was also directed to determine the compensation to be recovered from the polluters as cost of reversing the damaged environment. The Authority shall compute the compensation under two heads namely, for reversing the ecology and for payment to individuals. The Court also enforced a pollution fine of Rs. 10,000 each on all the tanneries & the fine collected was directed to be deposited along with the compensation amount recovered from the Polluters, under a separate head called "Environment Protection Fund". This amount shall be utilised for compensating the affected persons and also for restoring damaged environment.

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S. Jaganath vs. Union of India 1997 .

The Supreme Court applied the polluter pays principle in another landmark decision in the case of S. Jaganath vs. Union of India 1997 . In this case, it was found that the shrimp (small sea animal) culture industry in and around Chilka and Pulikat lakes, adjacent to the East Coast was causing salinity of the soil and the drinking water.

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S. Jaganath vs. Union of India 1997 .

This Industry also co-used detrimental effects on the local flora and fauna. Hence the Supreme Court ordered for the closure of the Shrimp Culture industries. It also directed the industries to compensate the individuals affected by these industries and also to contribute for reversing the damage caused to the ecology. It further directed that the compensation amount so recovered was to be deposited under 'Environment Relief Fund',

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M.C. Mehta v. Union of lndia.1997

The Supreme Court reiterated the 'Polluter Pays Principle' and reemphasized the need to apply it in M.C. Mehta v. Union of lndia", It was a case concerning the 'yellowing and decaying of the Taj Mahal.

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Ramji Patel v. Nagrik Upbhokta Marg Darshak Manch (2000)


The Supreme Court observed that if Fundamental Rights under Article 21 of the Constitution are violated by causing disturbance to the environment, it can award damages not only for the restoration of the ecological balance, but also for the victims who have suffered due to that disturbance. Such awarding of damages is in consonance with the "Polluter Pays Principle" i.e. the wrong doer/the polluter is under an obligation to make good to the damage caused to theenvironment. The basis for this PIL before the M.P. High Court was that the main water pipelines which supplied water to Jabalpur City, passed through the place where a number of dairy owners, had started storing cows/ buffalo dung and waste of the dairy products near the pipelines which was likely to contaminate the pure water supplied to the residents of the city.

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Vijay Singh Puniya v. State of Rajasthan AIR 2004 RAJ.


The Court directed each industrial unit to pay 15% of its turnover to RIlCO as damages on the principle of "polluter pays." The Court held that "for enforcing the rights under Article 21 of the Constitution and compelling the persons to discharge their fundamental duties under Article 51A(g) of the Constitution, the Courts exercising extraordinary jurisdiction can impose damages on the polluters for the restoration of the ecological balance and also for the victims who may have suffered due to intrusion upon the environment and ecology by the former. This petition was filed against dyeing and printing units, which were discharging effluents and polluting the water sources used for agricultural and drinking purposes.

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Conclusion
Apart from the judiciary the legislature has also felt the importance of the incorporation of the Polluter Pays Principle in the statute to give this principle a statutory status. The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977 was enacted by the Parliament to provide for the levy and collection of a cess on water consumed by persons carrying on certain industries and by local authorities, with a view to augment the resources of the Central Board and the State Board for the prevention and control of water pollution constituted under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

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The Public Liability Insurance: Act was enacted in the year 1991 to make it a mandatory duty of all industries having a capital value of rupees two lakhs to get insured under the Act. The National Environment Tribunal Act enacted in the year 1995 also incorporates this principle.

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Thank You