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Environment Protection

Protection of coast line of India

In Indian Council for Enviro -Legal Action v Union of India the Supreme Court in regard to the 600 kms long coast line emphasized that that it would be the duty and responsibility of the coastal states and Union Territories in which the stretch exists, to see that the notifications issued, declaring the coastal stretches should be properly and duly implemented. Further the various restrictions on the setting up and expansion of industries, operation or process, etc. in the regulation Zone should be strictly enforced.

In the same case the court enunciated the principle further that the polluter pays. Once the activity carried on is hazardous or inherently dangerous, the person carrying on such activity is liable to make good the loss caused to any other person irrespective of the fact whether he took reasonable care while carrying on his activity. Under this principle it is not the role of the Government to meet the costs involved in either prevention of such damage or in carrying out remedial action, because the effect of this would be to shift the financial burden of the pollution incident on the taxpayer. The responsibility of repairing the damage is that of the offending industry.

In Vellore Citizen Welfare Forum v. Union of India & others the polluter principle as interpreted by the Supreme Court means that the absolute liability for harm to the environment extends not only to compensate the victims of pollution but also the cost of restoring the environmental degradation. Remediation of the damaged environment is part of the process of "Sustainable Development" and as such polluter is liable to pay the cost to the individual sufferer as well as the cost of reversing the damaged ecology.

In Goa Foundation v Diksha Holdings Pvt. Ltd the court observed that with a view to protect the ecological balance in the coastal areas, notifications having been issued by the Central Government, there ought not to be any violation and prohibited activities should not be allowed to come up within the area declared as CRZ notification. The court also emphasized that no activities which would ultimately lead to unscientific and unsustainable development and ecological destruction should be allowed.

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