Sunday 1 February 2015

Whether Municipal law shall prevail over international law in case of conflict?

  “5. There can be no question that nations must march with the  international
community and the municipal law must  respect  rules  of  international  law
even as  nations  respect  international  opinion.  The  comity  of  nations
requires that  rules  of  international  law  may  be  accommodated  in  the
municipal law even without express legislative  sanction  provided  they  do
not run into conflict with Acts of Parliament. But when  they  do  run  into
such conflict, the sovereignty and the integrity of  the  Republic  and  the
supremacy of the constituted legislatures in making  the  laws  may  not  be
subjected to external rules except to the extent  legitimately  accepted  by
the constituted legislatures themselves. The doctrine of incorporation  also
recognises  the  position  that  the  rules   of   international   law   are
incorporated into national law and considered to be  part  of  the  national
law, unless they are in conflict  with  an  Act  of  Parliament.  Comity  of
nations or no, municipal law must prevail  in  case  of  conflict.  National
courts cannot  say  yes  if  Parliament  has  said  no  to  a  principle  of
international law. National courts will endorse international  law  but  not
if it conflicts with national law.  National  courts  being  organs  of  the
national State and not organs  of  international  law  must  perforce  apply
national law if international law conflicts with  it.  But  the  courts  are
under an obligation within legitimate limits, to so interpret the  municipal
statute as to avoid confrontation with the comity of  nations  or  the  well
established principles of international law. But if conflict is  inevitable,
the latter must yield.”

                          IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                          CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                      CIVIL APPEAL  NOS.3434-3435 OF 2001



UNION OF INDIA & ORS.                           ...RESPONDENTS
Citation;(2014) 10 SCC673

1.    The appellants are the owners  of  Hotels,  Beach  Resorts  and  Beach
Bungalows in Goa who have been facing the prospect of  demolition  of  their
properties for the last several decades. The respondent-Goa Foundation is  a
non-  Governmental  body  who  claims  to  be  dedicated  to  the  cause  of
environmental and ecological well being of the State of Goa. The respondent-
Goa Foundation had filed parallel writ petitions before the High  Court  for
demolition of the allegedly illegal constructions raised by the  appellants.
Both sets of writ petitions i.e. those filed by the appellants  against  the
orders of demolition by the State Authorities and the writ  petitions  filed
by the Goa Foundation seeking demolition of constructions raised by each  of
the appellants were heard together  by  the  Bombay  High  Court.  The  High
Court, by separate impugned orders dated 13th July,  2000,  had  upheld  the
orders passed by the authorities requiring the appellants  to  demolish  the
existing structures. It is against the aforesaid orders passed by  the  High
Court that the present group of appeals have been filed upon grant of  leave
by this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.

2.    The constructions raised by the appellants are not per se  illegal  in
the conventional sense. They are not without permission and sanction of  the
competent authority. What has  been  alleged  by  the  State  and  has  been
approved by the High Court is that such constructions are in  derogation  of
the environmental guidelines in force warranting demolition of the  same  as
a step to safeguard the environment of the beaches in Goa. Specifically,  it
is the case of the State that the constructions in question are  between  90
to 200 meters from the High Tide Line (HTL) despite the fact that under  the
guidelines in force, which  partake  the  character  of  law,  constructions
within 500 meters of the HTL are prohibited except in rare situations  where
construction activity between 200 to 500 meters from the HTL  are  permitted
subject to observance of strict conditions. Admittedly,  all  constructions,
though completed on  different  dates  and  in  different  phases,  were  so
completed before the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) were enacted  (w.e.f.19th
February, 1991) in exercise of the powers under the  Environment  Protection
Act, 1986.

3.    The above basis on which the impugned action of the State  is  founded
has been sought to be answered by the appellants by contending that  at  the
relevant point of time when building permissions and sanctions were  granted
in respect of the constructions undertaken, the prohibition was with  regard
to construction within 90 meters from  the  HTL.  Admittedly,  none  of  the
constructions  are  within  the  said  divide.  The   guidelines,   detailed
reference to which are made in the  succeeding  paragraphs  of  the  present
order, are not ‘law’ so as to  constitute  activities  contrary  thereto  as
acts of infringement of the law and hence illegal. Such  guidelines  do  not
confer the power of enforcement and lack the authority to  bring  about  any
penal consequences.

4.    Having very broadly noticed the contours of the adjudication that  the
present case would require, we may now proceed to consider the stand of  the
rival parties with some elaboration. The Stockholm declaration  of  1972  to
which India was the party is the foundation of the State’s  claim  that  the
guidelines in question, being in  implementation  of  India’s  international
commitments, engraft a legal framework by executive action under Article  73
of the Constitution.   The  said  guidelines  are  in  conformity  with  the
Nation’s commitment to international values in the  matter  of  preservation
of the pristine  purity  of  sea  beaches  and  to  prevent  its  ecological
degradation. Such commitment to an established feature of International  Law
stands engrafted in the Municipal Laws of the country by incorporation.  The
guidelines commencing with the instructions conveyed by the  Prime  Minister
of India in a letter dated  27th  November,  1981  addressed  to  the  Chief
Minister of Goa; the environmental guidelines  for  development  of  beaches
published in July, 1983 by the Government of  India and the 1986  guidelines
issued  by  Inter  Ministerial  Committee  by  the  Ministry   of   Tourism,
Government of India by order dated 11th June, 1986 have been  stressed  upon
as containing  the  responses  of  the  Union  of  India  to  the  Stockholm
Declaration. It is contended that enactment of laws by  the  legislature  is
not exhaustive of the manner in which India’s International commitments  can
be furthered.  Executive action, in the absence of statutory enactments,  is
an alternative mode authorised under Article 73 of the Constitution. In  the
present case, the exercise of executive power is traceable to Entry  13  and
14 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. The power to  give
effect to the guidelines and to penalize  violators  thereof  may  not  have
been available at the time when the guidelines  became  effective.  However,
with the enactment of the  Environment  Protection  Act,  1986  (hereinafter
referred to as ‘the Act’) with effect from 19th November, 1986,  sections  3
and 5 empowered the Central Government to pass necessary  orders  and  issue
directions which are penal in nature. It is in  the  exercise  of  the  said
power under the Act read with the guidelines  referred  to  above  that  the
orders impugned by the appellants  have  been  passed.  Though  the  Coastal
Regulation Zone  (CRZ)  Notification  under  the  Act  was  issued  on  19th
February, 1991 and admittedly is prospective in nature, till such time  that
the said notification came into force it is the guidelines  which  held  the
field being administrative instructions  having  the  effect  of  law  under
Article 73 of the Constitution.

5.    The stand of the State in support of  the  impugned  action  has  been
noticed at the outset for a better appreciation of  the  arguments  advanced
by  the  appellants.  Shri  K.  Parasaran,  Shri  C.U.Singh  and  Shri  Raju
Ramachandran, learned senior counsels who had  appeared  on  behalf  of  the
appellants in the different appeals under consideration have submitted  that
the purport and effect of the CRZ  Notification  published  on          19th
February, 1991 in exercise of the powers conferred by the Act and the  Rules
read together has been considered by this Court  in  Goan  Real  Estate  and
Construction Limited & Anr. vs. Union of India through  Secretary,  Ministry
of Environment & Ors.[1] to hold that: “Thus, the intention  of  legislature
while  issuing  the  Notification  of  1991  was   to   protect   the   past
actions/transactions which came into existence before the  approval  of  the
1991 Notification.” It is further submitted  that  in  Goan  Real  Estate  &
Construction  Ltd.  (supra)  construction  which  had  commenced  after  the
amendments made in the year 1994 to the notification  dated  19th  February,
1991 till the same were declared illegal on         18th April,  1996,  were
protected by this Court by holding that  though  the  amending  notification
was declared illegal by this Court –  “all  orders  passed  under  the  said
notification and actions taken pursuant to the said notification  would  not
be affected in any manner whatsoever.” (Para 38). According to  the  learned
counsels, the above is the approach that this  Court  had  indicated  to  be
appropriate for adoption while considering the Regulations  and  its  impact
on environmental issues in so far as  coastal  areas  and  sea  beaches  are

6.  In so far as the guidelines of  1983  and  1986  are  concerned,  it  is
contended that the Stockholm Declaration saw the emergence  of  the  concept
of sustainable development in  full  bloom.  In  Vellore  Citizens’  Welfare
Forum vs. Union of  India  &  Ors.[2],  this  court  understood  Sustainable
Development to mean  “development  that  meets  the  needs  of  the  present
without compromising the ability of the future  generations  to  meet  their
own needs”. In Vellore Citizen’s Welfare Forum (supra), it is  further  held
that “Sustainable Development” as a balancing concept  between  ecology  and
development has been accepted as  a  part  of  customary  international  law
though its salient features are yet to be  finalised  by  the  international
law jurists. The Stockholm Declaration, naturally,  does  not  and  in  fact
could not have visualized specific and  precise  parameters  of  sustainable
development including prohibitory and permissible parameters  of  industrial
and business activities  on  the  sea  beaches  that  could  be  universally
applied across the board. The very text and the language of the  guidelines,
according to learned counsels, make it clear that there  is  no  mandate  of
law in any of the  said  guidelines  which  are  really  in  the  nature  of
evolving parameters embodying suggestions for identification of the  correct
parameters for enactment of laws in the future.  It  is  accordingly  argued
that the guidelines do not amount to  an  exercise  of  law  making  by  the
executive under Article 73 of the Constitution. In any case, the  guidelines
were never published or authenticated as required under Article  77  of  the
Constitution. Pointing  out  the  provisions  of  the  Air  (Prevention  and
Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, it is argued that  the  aforesaid  Act  was
enacted to implement the decisions taken  in  the  Stockholm  Conference  of
1972. Parliament though fully aware of the  resolutions and decisions  taken
in the Stockholm Conference as well as the commitments made by the India  as
a signatory thereto did not consider it necessary to enact  a  comprehensive
law to protect and safeguard ecology and environment until enactment of  the
Environment Protection Act  with  effect  from  18th  November,  1986.  Even
thereafter, the parameters for enforcement of  the  provisions  of  the  Act
insofar as the sea  coast  and  beaches  are  concerned  had  to  await  the
enactment of the CRZ Notification of 19th  February,  1991.  Shri  Parasaran
has particularly relied on  a  decision  of  this  Court  in  the  State  of
Karnataka & Anr. vs. Shri Ranganatha Reddy & Anr.[3] to  contend  that  even
if the court is to hold otherwise what would be called for is  a  “balancing
act” which would lean in favour of the protection  of  the  property  having
regard to the long period of  time  that  has  elapsed  since  the  impugned
action was initiated against the appellants.

7.     In reply, Shri Chitale, learned  senior  counsel  appearing  for  the
Union of India has placed before the Court the several documents  which  the
Union would like the Court to construe as the ‘law  in  force’  to  regulate
commercial/business activities on the  sea  beaches  in  order  to  maintain
environmental health and  ecological  balance.  It  is  contended  that  the
aforesaid  guidelines,  though  had  existed  all  along,   could   not   be
specifically enforced in the absence of statutory  powers  to  penalize  the
violations thereof.  Such  power,  learned  counsel  contends,  came  to  be
conferred with the enactment of the Environment Protection Act  with  effect
from 19th November, 1986. The guidelines which all along had laid  down  the
parameters for application of the provisions of the  Act  were  replaced  by
the CRZ Regulations  with  effect  from                      19th  February,
1991.  Learned  counsel  has  contended  that  the  guidelines  issued   are
traceable to the power of the Union executive under Entry 13 and 14 of  List
I of the Seventh Schedule read with Article 73 of the Constitution.  Learned
counsel has also drawn the attention of the Court to  its  earlier  decision
in the case of Gramophone Company of India Ltd. vs. Birendra Bahadur  Pandey
& Ors.[4] to contend that it was not necessary to enact a  specific  law  to
give effect to Stockholm  Declaration  inasmuch  as  the  understanding  and
agreement reached in the International  Convention  to  which  India  was  a
party stood embodied in the Municipal Laws of the country by application  of
the doctrine of incorporation.

Particular emphasis was laid on the views expressed by this Court in Para  5
of the decision  in  Gramophone  Company  of  India  (supra)  which  may  be
extracted below:-

“5. There can be no question that nations must march with the  international
community and the municipal law must  respect  rules  of  international  law
even as  nations  respect  international  opinion.  The  comity  of  nations
requires that  rules  of  international  law  may  be  accommodated  in  the
municipal law even without express legislative  sanction  provided  they  do
not run into conflict with Acts of Parliament. But when  they  do  run  into
such conflict, the sovereignty and the integrity of  the  Republic  and  the
supremacy of the constituted legislatures in making  the  laws  may  not  be
subjected to external rules except to the extent  legitimately  accepted  by
the constituted legislatures themselves. The doctrine of incorporation  also
recognises  the  position  that  the  rules   of   international   law   are
incorporated into national law and considered to be  part  of  the  national
law, unless they are in conflict  with  an  Act  of  Parliament.  Comity  of
nations or no, municipal law must prevail  in  case  of  conflict.  National
courts cannot  say  yes  if  Parliament  has  said  no  to  a  principle  of
international law. National courts will endorse international  law  but  not
if it conflicts with national law.  National  courts  being  organs  of  the
national State and not organs  of  international  law  must  perforce  apply
national law if international law conflicts with  it.  But  the  courts  are
under an obligation within legitimate limits, to so interpret the  municipal
statute as to avoid confrontation with the comity of  nations  or  the  well
established principles of international law. But if conflict is  inevitable,
the latter must yield.”

8.    Shri Sanjay Parikh, learned counsel appearing for the respondent  NGO,
Goa Foundation, has submitted that the Prime Minister’s  letter  dated  27th
November, 1981; the 1983 guidelines as well as guidelines of  1986  have  to
be  construed  to  be  law  within  the  meaning  of  Article  73   of   the
Constitution. Placing reliance on the decision of this Court  in  Vishaka  &
Ors. vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors.,[5], Shri Parikh has  submitted  that  in
framing the guidelines to ensure prevention of  sexual  harassment  at  work
place this Court has placed reliance on the  fact  that  the  Government  of
India has ratified some of the resolutions adopted in the convention on  the
elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and had made  known
its commitments to the cause of women’s human rights  in  the  Fourth  World
Conference of Women held in Beijing. Similarly, relying on the  observations
of this Court in Para 52 in Vineet Narain  &  Ors.  vs.  Union  of  India  &
Anr.[6], it is contended that “it is the duty of the executive to  fill  the
vacuum by executive orders because its field is  coterminous  with  that  of
the legislature.” Shri Parikh has also relied on a judgment of  old  vintage
in Rai Sahib Ram Jawaya Kapur & Ors. vs. The State of Punjab[7]  to  contend
that the  executive  power  of  the  union  is  wide  and  expansive  and  –
“comprises both the determination of the policy as well as carrying it  into
execution. This  evidently  includes  the  initiation  of  legislation,  the
maintenance of order, the promotion of  social  and  economic  welfare,  the
direction of foreign policy, in fact the carrying on or supervision  of  the
general administration of the State.” (sub-para of Para 13).

9.     Shri Parikh has further contended that  commitments  of  the  country
made at an international forum which are in  tune  with  the  constitutional
philosophy i.e. to preserve and maintain ecology and  environment,  must  be
understood to have been incorporated in the Municipal Laws  of  the  country
and executive decisions to the above effect  will  fill  in  the  void  till
effective statutory exercise is made which in the instant case came  in  the
form of CRZ Notification dated 19th February, 1991.

10.     Shri Parikh has also submitted that passage  of  time  resulting  in
astronomical  rise  of  property  value;  use  of  the  otherwise  illegally
constructed property during the pendency of the present proceeding and  such
other events cannot be the basis of any claim in equity  for  protection  of
the product of an apparently illegal act. Reliance in  this  case  has  been
placed on a decision of this Court in Fomento Resorts  &  Hotels  Limited  &
Anr. vs. Minguel Martins & Ors.[8] .

11.     The  cases  of  the  respective  parties  having  been  noticed  the
necessary discourse may now commence. In Bennett Coleman & Co. vs. Union  of
India[9], a ‘Newsprint Policy’, notified by the Central Govt.  for  imposing
conditions on import of newsprint came to be challenged  on  the  ground  of
violation  of  fundamental  rights.  Beg,  J.,  in  a  concurring  judgment,
“What is termed “policy” can become justiciable when it exhibits  itself  in
the shape of even purported “law”. According  to  Article  13(3)(a)  of  the
Constitution,  “law”  includes  “any  Ordinance,   order,   bye-law,   rule,
[pic]regulation, notification, custom or usage having in  the  territory  of
India the force of law”. So long as policy remains  in  the  realm  of  even
rules framed for the guidance of executive  and  administrative  authorities
it may bind those authorities as declarations of what they are  expected  to
do under it. But, it cannot bind citizens  unless  the  impugned  policy  is
shown     to      have      acquired      the      force      of      “law”.
                         (para 93 – emphasis added)

12.   The question ‘what is “law”? has perplexed  many  a  jurisprude;  yet,
the search for the elusive definition continues. It may be unwise  to  posit
an answer to the question; rather, one may proceed by examining  the  points
of consensus in jurisprudential theories. What appears to be common  to  all
these theories is the notion that law must possess a certain  form;  contain
a clear mandate/explicit command which may be  prescriptive,  permissive  or
penal and the law must also seek to achieve a clearly identifiable  purpose.
While the form itself or absence thereof will not be determinative  and  its
impact  has  to  be  considered  as  a  lending  or  supporting  force,  the
disclosure of a clear mandate and purpose is indispensable.

13.    It may, therefore, be understood that a Govt. policy may acquire  the
“force of ‘law’” if it conforms to a certain form possessed  by  other  laws
in force and encapsulates a mandate and discloses a specific purpose. It  is
from the aforesaid prescription that  the  guidelines  relied  upon  by  the
Union of India in this case, will have to be examined to  determine  whether
the same satisfies the minimum elements of law. The said guidelines are -
1.   Directives to the State Governments  in  letter  dated  27th  November,
1981 of the then Prime Minister;
2.    Notification dated 22nd July, 1982 of  the  Governor  setting  up  the
Ecological Development Council for Goa, inter alia, for  scrutiny  of  beach
construction within 500 meters of HTL;

3.    Environmental Guidelines for Development of Beaches of July 1983;

4.  Order dated 11th June, 1986 of Under  Secretary,  Ministry  of  Tourism,
also addressed to Chief Secretary, Govt.  of  Goa,  constituting  an  inter-
Ministerial Committee for considering tourist projects within 500 meters.

14.  The genesis  of  the  Executive’s  decision  to  restrict  construction
activity within 500 meters of  the  HTL  can  be  traced  to  the  Stockholm
Conference. It is India’s participation in the conference that  led  to  the
introduction of  Articles  48A  and  51A(g)  in  the  Constitution  and  the
enactment of several legislations like the Air Act 1981,Forest  Conservation
Act, 1980, Environment Protection Act,  1986  etc.  all  of  which  seek  to
protect, preserve and safeguard the environment. It may be possible to  view
the aforesaid guidelines as “affirmative action”,  aimed  at  implementation
of Articles 21 and 48A of  the  Constitution  and,  therefore,  outlining  a
visible purpose.  The  search  for  a  clear,  unambiguous  and  unequivocal
command to regulate the conduct of the citizens in the said guidelines  must
also be equally fruitful. However,  we  are  unable  to  find  in  the  said
guidelines any expressed or clearly defined dicta. In fact, having read  and
considered the guidelines, we  are  left  with  a  reasonable  doubt  as  to
whether what has  been  spelt  out  therein  are  not  mere  suggestions  or
opinions expressed in the process of a continuing  exploration  to  identify
the correct parameters that would effectuate the purpose  i.e.  safeguarding
and protecting the environment (sea beaches)  from  human  exploitation  and
degradation. The above is particularly significant in view of the fact  that
the Stockholm Declaration in its core  resolutions,  merely  enunciate  very
broad propositions  and  commitments  including  those  concerning  the  sea
beaches  as  distinguished  from  specific  parameters   that   could   have
application, without variation or exception, to all the signatories  to  the
declaration.  The  Stockholm  Conference  having   nowhere   expressed   any
internationally approved parameters of acceptable  distance  from  the  HTL,
incorporation of any such feature of international values in  the  Municipal
Laws of the country  cannot  arise  even  on  the  principle  enunciated  in
Gramophone Company of India (supra). The position  is  best  highlighted  by
noticing in a little detail the objectives sought  to  be  achieved  in  the
Stockholm Conference and the core principles adopted therein so far as  they
are relevant to the issues in hand.
“The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment,  met  at  Stockholm
from 5 to 16 June, 1972, to consider the  need  for  a  common  outlook  and
common principles to inspire and guide the  peoples  of  the  world  in  the
preservation and enhancement of the human environment -
The Conference called upon Governments and peoples to exert  common  efforts
for the preservation and improvement  of  the  human  environment,  for  the
benefit of all the people and for their posterity.”

Extract of the relevant Principles –
“Principle 7- States shall take all possible steps to prevent  pollution  of
the seas by substances that are liable to create hazards  to  human  health,
to harm living  resources  and  marine  life,  to  damage  amenities  or  to
interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea.

Principle 11 - The environmental policies of all States should  enhance  and
not  adversely  affect  the  present  or  future  development  potential  of
developing countries, nor  should  they  hamper  the  attainment  of  better
living conditions for all, and appropriate steps should be taken  by  States
and international  organizations  with  a  view  to  reaching  agreement  on
meeting  the  possible  national  and  international  economic  consequences
resulting from the application of environmental measures.

Principle  14-  Rational  planning  constitutes  an   essential   tool   for
reconciling any conflict between the needs of development and  the  need  to
protect and improve the environment.

Principle 23- Without prejudice to such criteria as may be  agreed  upon  by
the  international  community,  or  to  standards  which  will  have  to  be
determined nationally, it will be essential in all  cases  to  consider  the
systems of values  prevailing  in  each  country,  and  the  extent  of  the
applicability of standards which are valid for the most  advanced  countries
but which may be inappropriate  and  of  unwarranted  social  cost  for  the
developing countries.

Principle  24-  International  matters   concerning   the   protection   and
improvement of the environment should be handled in a cooperative spirit  by
all countries, big and small, on an equal footing.

Cooperation  through  multilateral  or  bilateral  arrangements   or   other
appropriate means is essential to effectively control, prevent,  reduce  and
eliminate adverse environmental effects resulting from activities  conducted
in all spheres, in such a way that due account is taken of  the  sovereignty
and interests of all States.”

15.     Article 77 of the  Constitution  provides  the  form  in  which  the
Executive must make and authenticate its orders and  decisions.  Clause  (1)
of Article 77 provides that all executive action of the Government  must  be
expressed to be taken in the name of the President.  The  celebrated  author
H.M.Seervai in Constitutional Law of India,  4th  Edition,  Volume  2,  1999
describes the consequences of Government orders or  instructions  not  being
in accordance with Clauses (1) or (2) of Article  77  by  opining  that  the
same would deprive of the orders of the immunity conferred by the  aforesaid
clauses and they may be open to challenge on the ground that they  have  not
been made by or under the authority of  the  President  in  which  case  the
burden would be on the Government to show that they were, in fact, so  made.
In the present case, the said burden has not been discharged in  any  manner
whatsoever.  The  decision  in  Air  India  Cabin   Crew   Association   vs.
Yeshaswinee Merchant[10], taking a somewhat different view can, perhaps,  be
explained by the  fact  that  in  the  said  case  the  impugned  directions
contained in the Government  letter  (not  expressed  in  the  name  of  the
President) was in exercise of the statutory power under Section  34  of  the
Air Corporations Act, 1953. In the present  case,  the  impugned  guidelines
have not been issued under any existing statute.

16.  Clause (2) of Article  77  also  provides  for  the  authentication  of
orders and instruments in a manner as may be prescribed  by  the  Rules.  In
this regard, vide S.O. 2297 dated  3rd  November,  1958   published  in  the
Gazette of India, the President has issued the  Authentication  (Orders  and
Other  Instruments)  Rules,  1958.  The  said  Rules  have  been  superseded
subsequently in 2002. Admittedly, the provisions of the said Rules  of  1958
had not been followed in the present case insofar  as  the  promulgation  of
the guidelines is concerned.

17.    In  the  absence  of  due  authentication  and  promulgation  of  the
guidelines, the contents thereof cannot  be  treated  as  an  order  of  the
Government and would really represent an expression of opinion. In law,  the
said guidelines and its binding effect  would  be  no  more  than  what  was
expressed by this Court in State of Uttaranchal vs. S.K.  Vaish[11]  in  the
following paragraph of the report :

“It is settled law that all executive actions of  the  Government  of  India
and the Government of a State are required to be taken in the  name  of  the
President or the Governor of  the  State  concerned,  as  the  case  may  be
[Articles 77(1) and 166(1)]. Orders and other instruments made and  executed
in the name of the President or the Governor of a State,  as  the  case  may
be, are required to be authenticated in the manner specified  in  the  rules
made by the President or the Governor, as the case may  be  [Articles  77(2)
and 166(2)]. In other words, unless an order is expressed  in  the  name  of
the President or the Governor and is authenticated in the manner  prescribed
by the rules, the same cannot be treated  as  an  order  on  behalf  of  the
Government.”  [Para 23]

“A noting recorded in the file is merely a noting  simpliciter  and  nothing
more.  It  merely  represents  expression  of  opinion  by  the   particular
individual. By no stretch of imagination, such noting can be  treated  as  a
decision of the Government. Even if  the  competent  authority  records  its
opinion in the file on the merits of the  matter  under  consideration,  the
same cannot be  termed  as  a  decision  of  the  Government  unless  it  is
sanctified and acted upon by issuing an order in  accordance  with  Articles
77(1) and (2) or Articles 166(1) and (2). The noting in the file or  even  a
decision gets culminated into an order affecting right of the  parties  only
when it is expressed in the name of the President or the  Governor,  as  the
case may be, [pic]and authenticated in the manner provided in Article  77(2)
or Article 166(2). A noting or even a decision  recorded  in  the  file  can
always be reviewed/reversed/overruled or overturned  and  the  court  cannot
take cognizance of the earlier noting or decision for exercise of the  power
of judicial review.”      [Para 24]

18.     It is also essential that what is  claimed  to  be  a  law  must  be
notified or made public in order to bind the citizen. In Harla vs. State  of
Rajasthan[12] while dealing with the vires of the Jaipur  Opium  Act,  which
was enacted by a resolution passed  by  the  Council  of  Ministers,  though
never published in the Gazette, this Court had observed :-
“Natural justice requires that before a law can become operative it must  be
promulgated or published. It must be broadcast in some recognisable  way  so
that all men may know what it is, or, at the very least, there must be  some
special role or regulation or customary channel by  or  through  which  such
knowledge  can  be  acquired  with  the  exercise  of  due  and   reasonable
diligence. The thought that a decision reached in the secret recesses  of  a
chamber to which  the  public  have  no  access  and  to  which  even  their
accredited representatives have no access and of  which  they  can  normally
know nothing, can nevertheless affect their lives, liberty and  property  by
the mere passing of a Resolution  without  anything  more  is  abhorrent  to
civilised man.”        [Para 10]

19.   The Court  in  Harla  vs.  State  of  Rajasthan  (supra)  noticed  the
decision in Johnson vs. Sargant & Sons[13] and particularly the following:-
 “The principle underlying this question has been judicially  considered  in
England. For example, on a somewhat lower plane, it was held in  Johnson  v.
Sargant, (1918) 1 K.B. 101: 87 L.J. K.B. 122  that  an  order  of  the  Food
Controller under the Beans, Peas and Pulse (Requisition)  Order  1917,  does
not become operative  until  it  is  made  known  to  the  public,  and  the
differences between an Order  of  that  kind  and  an  Act  of  the  British
Parliament is stressed. The difference  is  obvious.  Acts  of  the  British
Parliament are publicly enacted. The debates are open to the public and  the
acts are passed by the accredited  representatives  of  the  people  who  in
theory can be trusted to see that their  constituents  know  what  has  been
done. They also  receive  wide  publicity  in  papers  and,  now,  over  the
wireless. Not so Royal Proclamations and Orders of a Food Controller and  so
forth. There must therefore be promulgation and publication in their  cases.
The mode of publication can vary; what is a good method in one  country  may
not necessarily be the best in another. But reasonable publication  of  some
sort there must be.”   (Para 11)

20.    It will not be  necessary  to  notice  the  long  line  of  decisions
reiterating the aforesaid view.  So  far  as  the  mode  of  publication  is
concerned, it has been consistently held by this Court that such  mode  must
be as prescribed by the statute. In the event the statute does  not  contain
any prescription  and  even  under  the  subordinate  legislation  there  is
silence in the matter, the legislation will take  effect  only  when  it  is
published through the customarily recognized official channel,  namely,  the
official gazette (B.K. Srivastava vs. State of  Karnataka)[14].  Admittedly,
the ‘guidelines’ were not gazetted.

21.   If the guidelines relied upon by Union of India in  the  present  case
fail to satisfy the essential and vital parameters/requirements  of  law  as
the trend of the above discussion would go  to  show,  the  same  cannot  be
enforced to the prejudice of the appellants as has been done in the  present
case. For the same reason, the issue raised with regard to the authority  of
the Union to enforce  the  guidelines  on  the  coming  into  force  of  the
provisions of the Environment Protection Act so as to bring into effect  the
impugned consequences, adverse to  the  appellants,  will  not  require  any

22.      An argument had  been  offered  by  Shri  Parikh,  learned  counsel
appearing for the  respondent,  Goa  Foundation,  that  while  dealing  with
issues concerning ecology and environment, a strict  view  of  environmental
degradation, which Shri Parikh would contend has  occurred  in  the  present
case, should be adopted having regard to the rights of  a  large  number  of
citizens to enjoy a pristine and pollution free  environment  by  virtue  of
Article 21 of  the  Constitution.  We  cannot  appreciate  the  above  view.
Violation of Article  21  on  account  of  alleged  environmental  violation
cannot be  subjectively  and  individually  determined  when  parameters  of
permissible/impermissible  conduct  are  required  to  be  legislatively  or
statutorily determined under Sections 3 and 6 of the Environment  Protection
Act, 1986 which has  been  so  done  by  bringing  into  force  the  Coastal
Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification w.e.f. 19th February, 1991.

23.     In view of the foregoing discussion,  the  orders  impugned  in  the
writ petitions filed by the appellants cannot  be  sustained.  Consequently,
the said orders as well as each of the orders dated 13th July,  2000  passed
by the High Court of Bombay will have to be set aside  which  we  hereby  do
while allowing the appeals.

                                           [RANJAN GOGOI]

New Delhi;
September 22, 2014.
[1]    2010 (5) SCC 388; in para 31
[2]     (1996) 5 SCC 647 Para 10
[3]    (1977 (4) SCC 471)
[4]    1984 (2) SCC 534
[5]    1997 (6) SCC 241 para 13
[6]    1998 (1) SCC 226
[7]    AIR 1955 SC 549
[8]    2009 (3) SCC 571
[9]    [(1972) 2 SCC 788 – 5J]
[10]   (2003) 6 SCC 277 – para 72
[11]   (2011) 8 SCC 670
[12]   [AIR 1951 SC 467]
[13]   [(1918) 1 KB 101]
[14]   (1987) 1 SCC 658


Print Page

No comments:

Post a Comment