public nuisance

S.133 CrPC and Environment Pollution

S.133 CrPC and Environment Pollution. Chapter X CrPC– Part B, has provided a provision for public nuisance which relates to environmental pollution. Section 133 CrPC empowers a District Magistrate, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, to stop the nuisance on receiving information. In Govind Singh v. Shanti Sarup (1979) nuisance was defined in very liberal terms and includes the construction of structures, disposal of substances, the conduct of trade and occupation; under this section, the court issues conditional order for the removal of the nuisance. 

The imperative tone of Section 133 CrPC read with the punitive temper of S.188 of IPC make the prohibitory act a mandatory rule (Municipal Council, Ratlam v. Vardichan, 1980). In this case, it was made clear that a citizen can always bank upon S.133 CrPC for the removal of the nuisance of pollution. It is of greater significance in view of the fact that the Water Act and Air Act do not provide for the affected parties a right to prosecute violators of the provisions. Another significant point is that corporate bodies like companies and corporations can also be held responsible for pollution nuisance under these provisions. The Court observed that “whenever there is a public nuisance, the presence of section 133 must be felt and any contrary opinion is contrary to the law.” 

It has been clarified that sub-section (I) of Section 133 gives ample powers to make an order prohibiting the discharge from a factory into a river of an effluent that might be injurious to the health of the community which has the right to use the water of the river. It was declared in Deshi Sugar Mills v. Tupsi Kahar (1926), that orders under Section 133 (1) cannot be made only on the basis that the complaint has been filed by more than two persons. In Krishna Gopal v. State of M.P. (1986), section 133 was effectively used. In this case, the complaint was made against the noise, air pollution due to fly ash and discharge of steam in the air from a glucose factory. This all cumulatively caused inconvenience and discomfort to the persons of the locality. In this case, the Court made a significant pronouncement :  

“It is not the intent of the law that the community as a whole or a large number of complaints come forward to lodge their complaints or protest against the nuisance. Law does not require any particular number of complainants. A mere reading of S.133(1) would go to show that the jurisdiction of subsection can be invoked on receiving a report of a police officer or other information….. 

In Madhavi v. Thilakan(1989) the court observed :  

“ We recognize every man’s home to be his castle which cannot be invaded by toxic funds, or tormenting sounds. This principle was expressed through law and culture, consistent with nature’s ground rules for existence, which has been recognized in S.133(1)(b). the conduct of trade or occupation, or keeping of any goods or merchandise injurious to health or physical comfort of the community could be regulated, or prohibited under the section.” 

P.C. Cherian v. State of Kerala (1981) explained the nature and scope of S.133. In this case, two rubber industries, situated in the industrial area, were using carbon black for the carbon mixing process. There was no necessary equipment to prevent such dissemination. This caused discomfort. In this case, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kottayam under Section 133 directed the stoppage of the mixing of carbon in both the factories. The High Court came to the conclusion that dissemination of carbon black in the atmosphere was a public nuisance and a health hazard that effects the respiratory organs of the people. The Court also considered the question that the stoppage of working of the factory under this section would affect the right to livelihood of the employees.  


The Supreme Court in State of M.P. v. Kedia Leather & Lquor Ltd.(2003) has declared that the area of S.133 and pollution laws are different and not identical in nature. While S.133 is in the nature of the preventive measure, the provision contained in the above two Acts is not only curative but also preventive and penal. The provisions appear to be mutually exclusive and different in their respective fields and there was an impediment for their existence side by side. Moreover, the passing of new pollution control laws, as mentioned above, does not repeal S.133” 


In Suhelkhan Khudyarkhan v. State of Maharashtra (2009), the Supreme Court made it clear that for the application of this section the condition precedent is that the conduct of the trade must be injurious to the health or physical comfort of community. there must be an imminent danger to the health  or physical comfort of the community in the locality in which trade or occupation is conducted. It is not intended to settle private disputes. 


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