SUMITH T P Vs. STATE OF KERALA
LAWS(KER)-2003-9-16
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Decided on September 04,2003

Sumith T P Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF KERALA Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) PETITIONER is the Secretary of Janakeeya Parisara Raksha Samithi, Moorikkovval - Edakkovval functioning at Moorikkovval, within the limits of Payyannur Municipality. He has filed this Writ Petition for and on behalf of himself and on behalf of the members of the general public in Moorikovval area. Respondents 2 to 5 are respectively, Payyannur Municipality, its Chairperson, its Vice Chairman, and the Health Inspector. Respondent No. 6 is the District Collector, Kannur. Respondent No. 7 is the Kerala State Pollution Control Board and the 8th respondent its Environmental Engineer. Additional respondents 9 to 19 got themselves impleaded stating that they are interested in the outcome of the Writ Petition.
(2.) PETITIONER has prayed for a writ of mandamus directing respondents 2 to 5 to refrain from dumping or burning waste materials in Moorikovval ground and for a further direction to prevent all types of pollution on account of the dumping or disposal of waste materials in Moorikovval ground. The third prayer made in the Writ Petition is for a direction to the said respondents to take appropriate action for opening a scheme for decentralised project for disposal of waste after identifying sufficient number of plots within and without the Municipality after proper notification. Payyannur Municipality started in Moorikovval a plant called Malinya Samskarana Kendram for the purpose of disposal of solid waste collected from the entire Municipality. The plant is situated in a ground extending an area of more than 3 acres and 6 cents. The solid waste from the entire Municipality would be brought to this ground to be converted into bio-fertilizers. According to the petitioner, the experience of the local people would show that the Municipality has failed to dispose of solid waste in an eco - friendly manner or to prevent environmental pollution. Petitioner would allege that the Malinya Samskarana Kendram in Moorikovval which started about a few months back has turned out to be a menace to the public living in that area, particularly residents in the close vicinity. According to him, waste from different hospitals, hotels, workshops, barbar shops and residential houses in the entire Municipality and even areas outside the Municipality are brought to the above compound at Moorikovval and are dumped there. These heaps of waste materials resemble tiny hills. They include plastic items and rubber items like tyres and tubes. Petitioner has alleged that even dead bodies from the hospitals including the Pariyaram Medical College were brought to the ground. Often bones, flesh and other remnants of slaughter house wastes are carried by crows and dogs. These waste materials ultimately reach the neighbouring wells. Though certain sheds are constructed in the compound, they do not help the processing of garbage. Waste materials brought to the ground are either simply deposited there or burnt in open air. Pollution thus generated invited protest from the affected members of the public. They submitted mass representations, issued lawyer notice, written complaints etc. to the Municipality to stop the dumping and burning of waste. Since no favourable response from the Municipal authorities was seen, certain members of the public resorted to agitation. In the above background the office bearers of the Municipal Council invited the petitioner and some other activists of the Samithi for a discussion. But nothing useful emerged from that discussion. The petitioner would put the blame on the 4th respondent who, it is alleged, exhibited a hostile attitude. In this connection the petitioner has made certain other allegations also against the Municipality and the office bearers. However, we do not think that those are matters which require mention in detail for deciding the issues arising in this case.
(3.) PETITIONER has stated that it is quite possible to resolve the problem by imaginative implementation of waste management technics. He would suggest that the Municipality should accept the idea of de-centralised procedure for management of the garbage, that is to say, to the extent possible, measures should be taken to dispose of the waste, right at the places where those are formed. Instead of taking the entire waste from all parts of the Municipality and other places outside the Municipality to a single ground, steps should be taken to identify and notify sufficient number of places and grounds for the purpose of disposal of waste and for the purpose of conversion of the waste into bio-fertilizer. The non de-composing materials like plastics should be separated. Petitioner would submit that identification of sufficient number of proper places for disposal of the waste is a duty cast on the Municipalities by S.331 of the Kerala Municipality Act, hereinafter referred to as the Act. Identification of such places shall be done taking into account the environmental impact, human inhabitance, etc. But respondents 2 to 5 have not made even an attempt to solve the problem inspite of the statutory provisions compelling them to do so. Petitioner has referred to S.326 of the Act which casts a duty on the Municipality to arrange for the removal of rubbish, solid and filth and to effectuate that purpose to provide (i) depots, receptacles and places for the deposit of filth, rubbish and the carcasses of animals. He also refers to sub-s. (2) of the aforesaid provision which says that the Secretary shall find out adequate provision for preventing the depots, places, receptacles, dustbins, vehicles and vessels referred to in sub-s. (1), from becoming sources of nuisance.;


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