Sabyasachi Mukharji, C.J. -
(1.)A letter written to this Court was treated as a writ petition under Art. 32 of the Constitution of India. The letter written by Chhetriya Pardushan Muleti Sangharsh Samiti, Sarnath, alleged environmental pollution in the area. It was also alleged therein that the Jhunjhunwala Oil Mills and refinery plant are located in the green belt area, touching three villages and the Sarnath temple of international fame. The smoke and dust emitted from the chimeys of the mills and the effluents discharged from these plants were alleged to he causing environmental pollution in the thickly populated area and were proving a great health hazard. It was further stated that the people were finding it difficult to eat and sleep due to smoke and foul smell and the highly polluted water. It was further alleged that the lands in the area had become waste, affecting crops and the orchards damaged. Diseases like TB, Jaundice and other ailments were stated to be spreading in an epidemic form. The growth of children was affected. It Was further alleged that the schools, nursing homes, leprosy homes and hospitals situated on the one kilometre long belt touching the oil mills and the plant were adversely affected. It was stated that licences had been issued to one richman Dina Nath for these industrial units thereby risking the lives of thousands of people without enforcing any safety measure either to cure the effluents discharged from the plants or to check the smoke and the foul smell emitted from the chimneys. The whole area was expected to be ruined due to any explosion or gas leakage.
(2.)In the background, the petitioner prayed for necessary directions to check the pollution, and also enclosed a printed leaflet allowing malpractices and corruption on the part of the proprietor of these industrial units apart from polluting the atmosphere. ,
(3.)As mentioned hereinbefore, the complaint was made by the said Samiti stated to be a social organisation about environmental pollution and ecological imbalance being caused by the two plants and thereby exposing the population to health hazards and life risk which was, therefore, considered to be a matter of great public importance. It is necessary to recognise the danger in order to strike a balance between the quality of life to be preserved and the economic development to be encouraged. Dealing with this aspect in M. C. Mehta v. Union of India, (1988) 1 SCR 279, it has been stated that whenever applications for licences to establish new industries are made in future, such applications should be refused unless adequate provision has been made for the treatment of trade effluents flowing out of the factories. So, letter was treated as a writ petition and notice was issued, counter-affidavit was filed on behalf of respondent ,No. 3 being the proprietor of Jhunjhunwala Oil Mills.' Reference was made to the decision of this Court in Bandhua Mukti Morcha V. Union of India, (1984) 2 SCR 57, wherein this Court underlined the importance of satisfactory verification of allegations. The Court was asked to be ever vigilant against abuse of its process and there was need for appropriate verification. There is a statute for controlling pollution. It is well settled that if there is a statute prescribing a judicial procedure governing a particular case, the Court must follow such procedure. It is not open to the Court to bypass the statute and evolve a different procedure at variance with it. It is further asserted on behalf of the respondents that between the petitioner Sita Ram Pandey and respondent No. 3, there was a long rivalry. According to respondent No. 3, the petitioner is an anti-social-element and his only aim was to extract money from the people like respondent No. 3 as in the present case.