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M/S.Matha Match Industries vs The Chief Environmental Engineer on 5 June, 2009

Kerala High Court
M/S.Matha Match Industries vs The Chief Environmental Engineer on 5 June, 2009
       

  

  

 
 
  IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

WP(C).No. 32460 of 2003(L)


1. M/S.MATHA MATCH INDUSTRIES, NEAR
                      ...  Petitioner

                        Vs



1. THE CHIEF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER,
                       ...       Respondent

2. K.M.GEORGE KARULLIL HOUSE, PIRAVOM P.O.,

3. THE MEDICAL OFFICER, PRIMARY HEALTH

                For Petitioner  :SRI.C.C.THOMAS (SR.)

                For Respondent  :SRI.SAJEEV KUMAR K.GOPAL

The Hon'ble MR. Justice ANTONY DOMINIC

 Dated :05/06/2009

 O R D E R
                    ANTONY DOMINIC,J.
                ---------------------
                W.P.(C).No.32460 OF 2003
              ------------------------
            Dated this the 5th day of June, 2009.

                         JUDGMENT

Challenge in this writ petition is against Exts.P8 and

P10 and the petitioner seeks a declaration that the

petitioner’s establishment do not come within the purview

of the Air(Prevention and Control of Pollution)Act 1981, as

is outside the definition of “Industrial Plant”. A further

direction to the first respondent to reconsider the coverage

of the petitioner’s factory under the purview of the Act is

also sought for.

2. Petitioner submits that it is manufacturing match

sticks which are being supplied to the match factories.

According to the petitioner, the unit has been functioning

since 1978 without any complaint from any corner. It is

seen that the petitioner was issued Ext.P1 letter directing

him to inform whether they are using sulpher in the

WP(c).No.32460/03 2

factory. Reply was given and finally Ext.P6 show cause notice

was issued. On its receipt petitioner gave Ext.P7 reply

disputing its liability to comply with the requirements of Air

Act and also sought for an opportunity of hearing to explain

his contentions. The objections raised by the petitioner

disputing coverage of the Act were rejected and by the

impugned proceedings, the petitioner was asked to apply for

consent and also to increase the height of the Chimney. It is in

these circumstances the writ petition is filed with the aforesaid

prayers.

3. As already noticed, it is the case of the petitioner that

their unit has been functioning since 1978 and that it is not an

industrial plant as defined in Section 2K of the Air Act, due to

absence of air pollutants. It was raising this contention that

the petitioner filed his reply to the show cause notice.

Petitioner wanted to substantiate his contentions and

therefore he sought an opportunity of hearing. However, it

was denied by the respondents for the reason that consequent

on the notification issued by the Government of Kerala, entire

industries in the State have been brought within the coverage

WP(c).No.32460/03 3

of the Air Act and therefore it was not necessary to give an

opportunity of hearing.

4. Having considered the justification thus offered by the

respondents I must confess my inability to accept the same. As

already stated, it is the case of the petitioner that his

establishment is not an industrial plant due to absence of air

pollutants. If it is factually correct, his industry will be outside

the purview of the Act. When the petitioner wanted to

substantiate this contention and sought an opportunity of

hearing, the first respondent should certainly have given that

opportunity to the petitioner. Having not done so, I am

inclined to hold that, Exts.P8 and P10 orders impugned in this

writ petition are passed for violation of the principles of

natural justice.

For that reason and without expressing anything on

merits, Exts.P8 and P10 are set aside and the first respondent

is directed to reconsider Ext.P6 in the light of Ext.P7, with

notice and opportunity of hearing to the petitioner and as

expeditiously as possible. In the meanwhile, the petitioner

will be permitted to run the unit without any penal action

WP(c).No.32460/03 4

against him.

Writ petition is disposed of as above.




                                      (ANTONY DOMINIC)
vi                                          JUDGE

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