Report No. 186
Public trust doctrine:
The 'public trust' doctrine was referred to by the Supreme Court in M.C. Mehta vs. Kamal Nath: 1997 (1) SCC 388 . The doctrine extends to natural resources such as rivers, forests, sea shores, air etc., for the purpose of protecting the eco-system. The State is holding the natural resources as a trustee and cannot commit breach of trust. In the above case, the State's order for grant of a lease to a motel located on the bank of the river Beas which resulted in the Motel interfering with the natural flow of the water, was quashed and the public company which got the lease was directed to compensate the cost of restitution of environment and ecology in the area.