Suray Prasad Sharma Dhungel v. Godavari Marble Industries and Others

Writ No. 35 of the year 2049 B.S (1992)
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The Petitioner, Legal and Environmental Analysis for Development and Research Services (Pvt.) Ltd. (LEADERS Inc) was a company that conducted research on environmental issues and promoted conservation. One of the Respondents, Godavari Marble Industries, was engaged in marble masonry. The Petitioner contended that the activities of the Respondent, including blasting and mining, were causing severe damage to the Godavari forest and its surrounding areas, and that such activities violated the right to a healthy environment implied by the right to life. The petition sought a writ of mandamus ordering the Respondent and the Government of Nepal to cease their activities in the Godavari area.

The Court held that the right to life includes the right to a clean and healthy environment. The Court held that activities undertaken by the Respondent such as blasting at irregular intervals were a major cause of sound pollution, air pollution, and water pollution, and disturbed the geology and botany of the area. It therefore held that there was a need to regulate industries on environmental parameters.

However, the Court rejected the argument that the industry could be shut down on the ground of public welfare. The Court held that the lease could not be ordered to be cancelled as there no provision in the law for cancelling a mining license on the grounds of environmental damage. The Court instead required the Respondent industry to undertake remedial and regulatory measures in the affected areas.

The Court also held that there was a need to enact legislation protecting the environment. The Court thus directed the Government of Nepal to draft and frame necessary laws for the “protection of air, water, sound and environment”.

“Since clean and healthy environment is an indispensable part of a human life, right to clean, healthy environment is undoubtedly, embedded within the Right to Life.”[ Writ No. 35 of the year 2049 B.S (1992) , Para 30]

“Irregular unlimited explosions not only create sound pollution but also attribute to geological micro side effects that ultimately lead to geological and botanical disasters.”[ Writ No. 35 of the year 2049 B.S (1992) , Para 34]