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Report No. 186

National laws in Belgium, France, Germany have adverted to this principle.

In international law, the principle is incorporated in the 1980 Athen Protocol, the 1992 Helsinki Convention on the Transboundary Effects Industrial Accidents, the 1993 Lugano Convention on Civil Liability for Damage Resulting From Activities Dangerous to Environment. A host of other treaties and conventions are set out (at pp. 23, 24) in 'Environmental Principles' (by Nicolas de Sadeler, Oxford 2002).

This principle was first stated in the Brundtland Report in 1987. This principle was also adverted to in Indian Council for Enviro-legal Action vs. Union of India 1996(3) SCC 212. It was stated; (p 246 at para 65) we are of the opinion that any principle evolved in this behalf should be simple, practical and suited to the conditions obtaining in this country. 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 by his activity irrespective of the fact whether he took reasonable care while carrying on his activity".

In Vellore Citizens' Welfare Forum vs. Union of India 1996(5) SCC 647, (at 659):, Kuldip Singh J stated:

The 'Polluter Pays Principle' as interpreted by this Court means that the absolute liability for harm to the environment extends not only to compensate the victims of the 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 the polluter is liable to pay the cost to the individual sufferers as well as the cost of reversing the damaged ecology."

This principle of compensating the victim as well as the environment is laid down in section 3 of the National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995. Section 3(1), as already stated, refers to the compensation payable and it will be as per the heads specified in the Schedule. The Schedule contains items (a) to (n) out of which items (a) to (e) relate to the individual affected by the polluter while items (f) to (n) relate to the environmental damage, including that to the flora and fauna.



Proposal to Constitute Environment Courts Back




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