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Kinkri Devi and Anr. Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh and Ors.

Type of court
National - higher court
May 29, 1987
Court name
High Court of Himachal Pradesh
Desai, P.
Thakur, R.
Reference number
AIR 1988 HP 4
Environment gen., Mineral resources
Mining Environmental planning Mining licence
Petitioners have sought cancellation of mining lease for excavation of limestone as it posed danger to adjoining land, water resources, pastures, ecology and environment and sought compensation for damage This is the first case of its kind in the State of Himachal Pradesh involving issues relating to the environment and ecological balance, based on sustainable development criteria. The Supreme Court had already highlighted the gravity of the problem and the necessity of regulatory measures being undertaken so as to bring about a proper balance between the conservation of natural resources and the protection of the environment and the ecology on one hand and the need for development and of the industrial growth of the country on the other. The Court refers to Constitutional principles, specifically to Article 48-A which prescribes that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country. Part-IVA, which enshrines the Fundamental Duties, provides similarly in Article 51A, Clause (g), that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures. To ensure the attainment of the constitutional goal of the protection and improvement of the natural wealth and environment and of the safeguarding of the forests, the lakes, the rivers and the wildlife and to protect the people inhabiting the vulnerable areas from the hazardous consequences of the arbitrary exercise of the power of granting mining leases and of indiscriminate operation of the mines on the strength of such leases without due regard to their life, liberty and property, the Court, considering that the need for judicial intervention may not arise even in those cases where the court's jurisdiction is invoked, if the administration takes preventive, remedial and curative measures meanwhile. It directed the constitution of a committee to examine the question whether the grant of mining leases in respect of lime-stone is in accordance with the relevant statutory provisions and the above mentioned principles, to recommend a long-term plan and/or scheme for the grant of mining leases in the State in light of all the relevant and material factors and suggest the preventive, curative and regulatory measures and machinery in order to ensure that the mining leases are operated in a scientific manner and for repair of such damage, further directed respondent to stop all mining activities in area leased to him till further Order and no mining lease shall be granted till committee submits its report.
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