Nuisance In Environmental Law
(a) Nuisance –
In the words of R.N.D. Hamiton “ the deepest doctrinal roots of modern environmental law are found in the common law principles of nuisance. It may be caused through escape of water, filthy liquid or substances, smokes, fumes, gas, noise, heat, vibrations, electricity, disease, bacteria, trees, etc”.
Literal meaning of nuisance is anything that annoys, hurts or offends, but for an interference to an actionable nuisance, the conduct of the defendant must be unreasonable. Further nuisance must not be momentary, but must continue for some time. A single short inconvenience is not actionable. There are two categories of Nuisance – Public and Private. Public Nuisance …show more content…
Turnley declared that anything which lessens the comfort or endangers the health or safety of a neighbour must be an actionable nuisance. It was a case where the plaintiff complained of smoke and smell from the burning of bricks by the defendants. Similarly, large smelting works and vapour exhaled from those works did physical injury to the shrubs and trees on the plaintiff’s land and was held to be an actionable nuisance and air pollution. The Karnataka High Court in Lakshmipathy v. State, observed that air, water, land and noise nuisance were hazardous, and the industries cannot be permitted to operate while causing air and noise pollution affecting the quality of the environment. In the Case of B. Venkatappa v. B.Louis, The A.P. High Court upheld the lower court’s mandatory injunction directing the defendant to close the holes in a chimney facing the plaintiff’s property. The Court ensured enforcement of its order by authorizing the plaintiff to seal the holes at the defendant’s cost, if the defendant failed to do so. The High Court stated that the smoke and fumes that materially interfered with ordinary comfort were enough to constitute an actionable nuisance and that actual injury to health need not to be proved. The court also observed that the existence of other sources of discomfort in the neighbourhood were no defence, provided that the source complained of materially added to the …show more content…
A common law action for negligence may be brought to prevent environmental pollution. Negligence is the failure to exercise that care which the circumstances demand in any given situation. The judgment in Heaven v. Pender , was reiterated in Donoghue v. Stevenson , where Lord Atkin propounded the principle, and held that one must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which one can reasonably foresee, to be likely to cause physical injury to person or property. However, the degree of care differs from case to case and circumstances to circumstances.
The degree of care as observed by the Supreme Court in the context of hazardous industries: “We cannot possibly adopt a policy of not having any chemical or hazardous industries merely because they pose hazard or risk to the community. If such a policy were adopted, it would mean the end of all progress and development. Such industries even if hazardous have to be set up since they are essential for economic development and advancement of well being of the people. We can only hope to reduce the element of hazard or risk to the community by taking all necessary steps for locating such industries in a manner which would pose least risk of damage to the community and maximizing safety requirements in such industries.” The rule that a man is held to the exercise of the degree of care, which an ordinary prudent man would exercise in the same situation, is