Asociación Vecinal Belgrano C. Manuel Belgrano et. al. v. Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires et al.

M. 2413. XXXIX.
Download Judgment: Spanish
Country: Argentina
Region: Americas
Year: 2005
Court: Supreme Court of Justice [Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación Argentina]
Health Topics: Environmental health, Public safety
Human Rights: Right to a clean environment, Right to due process/fair trial, Right to health, Right to property
Tags: Air pollution, Environmental health, Noise Pollution, Right to Health, Right to Property

The plaintiff, Asociación Vecinal Belgrano C Manuel Belgrano, filed a guarantee of protection of individual constitutional rights (amparo protection) against the Government of the City of Buenos Aires and Metrovías S.A so that they performed the corresponding measures to stop the noise pollution generated in the Metro C and Metro D, that damaged the passengers health. The case was solved in the local contentious administrative courts but the respondent Metrovías S.A filed an appeal of unconstitutionality with the Supreme Court of Justice of the City of Buenos Aires [Tribunal Superior de Justicia de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires] because the case should be treated in the Federal Justice. The local Supreme Court of Justice dismissed the appeal because it found that the sanitation control of the Metro, the noise pollution, was under provincial police power of the City of Buenos Aires.

The respondent, Metrovías S.A,  filed an extraordinary appeal with the Supreme Court of Justice which was dismissed so it filed a complaint with the same Court based on the following arguments:

  1. Even though it correspond to the local police power to control noise pollution and sanitation control, the problem in this case, noise pollution, comes from the construction design of the Metro that was authorized by the State in the concession contract between Metrovías S.A and the State.
  2. The challenged judgement violates the right to fair trial because the State, which is not a party to the case, couldn’t present its arguments and defenses and violates their right to property and right to licit industri from articles 14, 17 and 18 of the National constitution.
  3. The case should be solved by federal justice because the object of the amparo is that the respondent carry out the corresponding measures to avoid the noise pollution and that service is provided though the administrative concession contract that is regulated by national norms.
  4. The concession contract determined that in case there is a problem with the service provided the Federal Justice should intervene.
  5. Control of the concession contract wass done by a National organ [Comisión Nacional de Regulación del Transporte]
  6. The respondant, Metrovías S.A, couldn’t perform any modification in its service to reduce the noise pollution without the authorization of the State.

The Supreme Court of Justice found that it should evaluate the facts to determine which jurisdiction was competent, the Federal or the Local. The Supreme Court of Justice evaluated the norms that regulated the competence of the local government in the concession contract and it found that the local government had the police power over the sanitation control but didn't have competence over the concession contract because it was between the respondent (Metrovías S.A) and the State. Also as the object of the amparo protection was to determine which of the parties of the concession contract were not complying with their obligations that lead to a service that produce noise pollution, then the Federal Contentious Administrative Court should solve the case. This is so because the concession contract determined that if there was a problem with the service provided, the Federal jurisdiction was competent to solve the case. Therefore the Supreme Court of Justice admitted the claim and revoked the judgement of the Supreme Court of Justice of the City of Buenos Aires [Tribunal Superior de Justicia de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires] and sent the case to the Federal Contentious Administrative Court.

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