Terry Towel Ltd. Vs. Solanki Muljibhai Revabhai Harijan Vyas & Ors  Insc
366 (5 May 2004)
& G.P. Mathur.
J U D
G M E N T (arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 11462/2002) RAJENDRA BABU, CJI :
petition was filed in the High Court by a resident within the vicinity of a
unit of the appellant on the allegation that the appellant was letting out its
trade effluents outside factory premises. On 16.12.1996 the High Court
appointed a Committee to make a report regarding discharge of effluent. On the
filing of Report by that Committee a show cause notice was issued to the
appellant on 26.12.1996 in the light of the contents thereof. Thereafter, the
High Court on 9.1.1997 directed the closure of the factory. In the course of
the order made by the High Court it was noticed that the appellant could not
say that there was no discharge of trade effluent. The High Court directed the
appellant to deposit a sum of Rs. 75,000/- and also ordered its closure. On
16.1.1997 by another order made the High Court directed the appellant to
deposit a sum of Rs. 75 lakhs as a condition for restarting of the unit . On
depositing such amounts in instalments the High Court directed restarting of
certain activities which do not generate any kind of effluent. Then by an order
made on 27.1.1998 the High Court disposed of the matter. In the course of the
order made on that day it was noticed that an agreement had been entered into
between the petitioner and certain other persons residing in the village with the
appellant; that effluent treatment plant (ETP) was about to be commissioned and
this would include training of the people of the industry for the operation and
of the maintenance of the ETP; that the report filed by the Gujarat Pollution
Control Board on examining the samples collected on 20.01.1999 indicated that
the appellant is meeting the norms; that the petitioners and others in the writ
petition filed before the High Court had been paid damages arising on account
of discharge of effluents and had entered into an agreement which was filed
before the High Court; and that the unit having met with the requirements of
the Gujarat Pollution Control Board. On that basis, the High Court disposed of
the writ petition allowing the same to be withdrawn.
as regards the refund of the amount deposited by the appellant before the
Court, the High Court stated that this aspect could be considered at a later
an application was made for refund of the said amount in deposit. The High
Court disposed of that application without making any order by making it clear
that such application could be revived after the cases pending before this
Court are disposed of.
this appeal, it is urged before us that the writ petition having been withdrawn
and the concerned persons who had suffered damage on account of discharge of effluents
having been compensated, question of continuing to keep the said amounts
deposited in Court would not arise. It is further submitted that this case
stands entirely on different footing from other cases pending before this Court
because in other cases discharge of effluent was to a common ETP while no such
discharge had been made in this case, except some of the effluents having been
discharged into lands surrounding the factory.
of environment or damage, if any, suffered by the residents residing in the
vicinity having been satisfied with the compensation paid to them in terms of
the agreement which was produced before the High Court, the ETP having been set
up and with pollution control norms having been satisfied, the High Court ought
to have considered question of refund of the amounts deposited with Court and
should have treated this case on a different footing altogether and not
connected with other cases pending before this Court.
we set aside the order made by the High Court, remit the matter to the High
Court for fresh consideration of the application for refund and to dispose of
the matter in accordance with law.
appeal is allowed accordingly.