Telangana HC | Do Water Act and Air Act bestow an urgent power on Pollution Control Board whereby notice for closure of unit can be called upon? HC discusses provision

Telangana High Court: A Division Bench of Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, CJ and B. Vijaysen Reddy, J., while addressing the present petition observed that,

Section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and 31A of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 do not necessarily require that the principles of natural justice should be followed, moreover the stated provisions bestow an urgent power, or an exceptional power, on the Pollution Control Board whereby the closure of a unit may be required on an emergent basis.

CLOSURE NOTICE

Petitioner challenged the legality of the closure notice passed by respondent 3.

BACKGROUND

Petitioner claimed to be a pharmaceutical company of bulk drugs. It claims that it is engaged in the manufacturing of bulk drugs.

Further, it was also granted the Certificate For Establishment (CFE) to manufacture fifteen (15) bulk drugs with a maximum production capacity of 1900 kg/day, with a condition that the Industry shall not produce more than four products, and individual capacities mentioned therein at any given point of time.

Subsequently, the company was granted the Consent For Operation (CFO) under the Hazardous Waste Act for manufacturing two products at a given point of time, out of fifteen products.

According to the petitioner, the CFO was renewed and continues to be valid till 31-03-2023.

Respondent 2 had received a complaint with regard to the discharge of acid water causing groundwater pollution. Hence an inspection was carried out and a closure notice was issued.

In view of the above-stated position, the present petition was filed.

ANALYSIS & DECISION

Bench referred to Section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and 31A of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

The above two provisions are in identical terms.

POST-DECISIONAL HEARING

Court states that a post-decisional hearing can always be given by the Pollution Control Board to the erring unit to rectify the defects or the violations committed by the erring unit.

Further, the Court added that though the report submitted the Pollution Control Board clearly reveals that there is a large number of lacunae/defects/violations of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, and of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act committed by the petitioner still a chance must be given to rectify the errors committed.

In light of the above-stated, the petition was disposed of. [Kosher Pharmaceutical (P) Ltd. v. State of Telangana, 2020 SCC OnLine TS 1029, decided on 01-09-2020]

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