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SC imposes huge penalty on Raj polluting industry

21 July 2011

IBN Live

New Delhi, Jul 21 (PTI) Coming down heavily on a Rajasthan-based polluting chemical industry, the Supreme Court has directed it to pay over Rs.37 crore with 12 per cent compound interest (approx Rs.202 crore), rapping the company for frustrating its order over the last 15 years by filing frivolous petitions. Taking a stern view of sustained efforts made by the company to circumvent the order, the bench said people who perpetuate illegal acts by obtaining stays and injunctions must be made to pay the sufferer.A bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and H L Dattu regretted that though the apex court had directed closure of the Hindustan Agro Chemicals Pvt Ltd and attachment of its assets as early as on November 4, 1997 for causing large scale pollution several villages of Rajasthan, the company had successfully dodged compliance due to its money power.The bench imposed a further cost of Rs 10 lakh on the company for prolonging the litigation. The total amount realised from the company will be utilised by the state government to undertake remedial measures in the affected villages, the bench directed.The amount of Rs 37.385 crore was imposed by the apex court in 1997 for carrying out the clean up operations at Bicchri and other surrounding villages due to discharge of noxious and effluents from the company's plant.The State Government had stated that the water in certain wells in Bichhri village and some other surrounding villages has become unfit for drinking for human beings and cattle."This class of people who perpetuate illegal acts by obtaining stays and injunctions from the Courts must be made to pay the sufferer not only the entire illegal gains made by them as costs to the person deprived of his right and also must be burdened with exemplary costs."Faith of people in judiciary can only be sustained if the persons on the right side of the law do not feel that even if they keep fighting for justice in the Court and ultimately win, they would turn out to be a fool since winning a case after 20 or 30 years would make wrongdoer as real gainer, who had reaped the benefits for all those years," Justice Bhandari writing the judgement observed

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