The Gujarat High Court has rejected an appeal to quash an FIR lodged against a factory owner for allegedly dumping chemicals on open land by excavating pits. As such, the owner is charged with a violation of the Environment (Protection) Act. The accused has been booked under Sections 308, 277, 279, and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, and Section 24 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act.
In his plea, the accused said that the case was filed after the police raided a certain stretch of land where a tanker of chemicals was discovered. There were two men who were disposing off the chemical substances in a big pit. However, he cannot be charged in the case as the ownership of the tanker was disputed. The petitioner said that he was one of the partners in the firm at JVM Mine Chemical, but the venture was dissolved on amicable terms. A new partnership firm was created, but he was not a partner here. As such, he could not be implicated in these offenses.
The bench, led by Justice Niral R. Mehta, heard the accused’s side but refused to budge. The bench said that this case was a clear example of the ‘horrifying effect of industrial growth’ and cannot be neglected. Such actions from people are affecting society at large and also harming the environment as well as livestock. Given these reasons, the bench refused to exercise the limited jurisdiction under Section 482 of CrPC.
According to the bench, “Day in day out, hazardous waste of industries being left in such an untreated manner endangering to the human and cattle life. Discharging hazardous chemicals on open land by excavating pits is having far-reaching impacts. The allegation in the present case is one where a huge quantity of hazardous chemical waste was apprehended / red-handed at the time when it was being actually discharged in land by excavating a big pit.”