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Report No. 186

Jurisdiction of ordinary Civil Court and conflict of decisions

We have already stated that we are not ousting the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts to entertain environment related disputes. As of now, for example, if a chimney in a neighbour's house is releasing polluted air or a small sewage channel from one house or land is creating pollution to a neighbour's house or land, parties in villages are able to approach the nearest munsif Courts which are quite accessible to these villages.

If we oust the jurisdiction of these Courts, villagers cannot be expected to go all the way to the seat of the Environment Court for each adjournment and contest the same. (May be, if a large section of people is involved, they may be able to contest the case in the Environment Court, even if it is located at a distant place.) In fact, even in Australia and New Zealand, the jurisdiction of ordinary Courts is not ousted. Proposals in UK are also likewise. We are here only proposing to provide special Courts,- like the Consumer for.- which parties may easily approach, if they want a speedy or specialist Court. In fact, the Consumer (Protection) Act, 1986 states that the Act is in addition to the remedies under ordinary law.

But, on the question of finality, it has to be provided that if an adjudication has become final in the Civil Court (or in the Environmental Court) it should be binding on the parties and parties cannot be allowed to move the Environmental Court (or Civil Court) which has not yet been approached.

If a dispute on some subject matter is pending in the Environment Court and another similar case is filed later in the Civil Court, or vice versa, parties can always obtain stay of the latter proceeding from the Court where the latter case is filed by filing an application on the same principle as in section 10 of Civil Procedure.

Proposal to Constitute Environment Courts Back

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