Decided on May 30,2003

JOLLY Appellant


- (1.) The averments in the Original Petition indicate that the petitioners, who were residents of the Pallipuram Grama Panchayat, had been opposing the proposal of the 6th respondent to establish a Saw Mill. To a certain extent initially they were successful in preventing its erection. Taking note of the objections highlighted by them, the Panchayat had rejected the application for a licence. The 6th respondent thereafter had taken up the matter with the 5th respondent Green Channel Clearance Committee, who had been authorised to function as the Appellate Authority in the matter of licensing. The said authority by Ext. P5 had reversed the decision of the Panchayat, since according to them, the decision was not based on any expert opinion. The Green Channel Committee also had recommended the Pollution Control Board and the District Medical Officer to issue their consent and also had decided to recommend the Pallipuram Grama Panchayat to issue licence to the 6th respondent after 14 days of the order.
(2.) The plea raised by the petitioners is that Ext. P5 order of the Green Channel Committee is unsustainable. The petitioners also have attacked the order of the Pollution Control Board which had come to be passed later, viz., on 21.02.2003 whereunder clearance been granted for running the unit.
(3.) The main contention as against Ext. P5 appears to be that it was passed in violation of the principles of natural justice. The objection is that the petitioners were not heard in the matter, nor the Panchayat, on whose orders the Committee was sitting in judgment. But the objection does not appear to be well founded. Of course the Panchayat had rejected the application for the licence. But when an appeal had been preferred, though the petitioners state that the Panchayat was not heard in the matter, the recitals in Ext. P5 indicate that the representative of the Panchayat had attended the meeting. In fact they had informed the Green Channel Committee that they have no objection in giving a licence to the 6th respondent, if the Authority recommends for the same. Thus a dispassionate approach had been shown in the matter. The question is whether the petitioners had vested rights to see that the licence was never granted and whether the authorities had discretion to examine the matter and pass orders, overruling the objections of the local residents.;

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