Thursday, 10 February 2022

Mc Mehta vs Kamal Nath Z zzz

 MC Mehta v Kamal Nath.

Facts: In this case. a Soan Motels Pvt Ltd. who had ties with the defendant Kamal Nath. built

a club after encroaching into a huge ground of forestland. This encroachment had resulted in

the swelling of the Bead River which resulted in landslides and flooding in the nearby areas.

This encroachment was later regularised through a lease agreement

Judgment: The court recognised the doctrine of Public Trust under both Roman Law and

English Common Law. According to this doctrine, common properties such as rivers, shores,

forests are of great importance to the public at large and cannot be made subject to private

ownership. It endows a duty upon the State to protect these common properties as trustee

and not allow private or commercial entities to exploit them. ne court also relles on severa

judgments passed by the Supreme Court of United States: such as illinois Central Railroad

Company v State of Illinois, wherein the court propounded the theory of public trust and held that a court will justifiablv scrutinise an state action which subiects resources, available for

free public use. to the private interest of parties. In Gould v Grevlock Reservation

Commission, the government had permitted the construction of a tramway in the mountain

enacting a statute. owever, the court nrin rom a group or ciens,

held the statute and the contract authorizing the tram construction as invalid

In the Kamal Nath case, the court relied on the Monolake case, wherein the state government

nad authorised the diversion or streams and the court gave authoritative lending to the

doctrine of the public trust and remarked that the doctrine or public trust goes bevond

attirmine the state of its authority to utilize public propertv for the benefit of the public but

to also confirm that it is state's duty to protect common heritage of the people as it holds

such heritage as a trustee or the public. Finallv, it held that it is impermissible for the

government to allow the aesthetic value of natural resources to be exoloited for commercial

purposes and held that the Himachal Pradesh executive had violated their oublic trust dutv.

Conclusion: Upon analysis of the Kamal Nath case, it is clear that diversion of the river for a

develooment proiect would be illegal. River is a public resource and the state holds it as a

public trust which cannot be exploited for commercial and private use.

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