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Friday, January 9, 2015

CIVIL APPEAL No. 10024 OF 2014 (Arising out of S.L.P.(c) No. 24317 of 2013) Dr. Balwant Singh Appellant(s) Versus Commissioner of Police & Ors. Respondent(s)

                                                                  Reportable

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL No. 10024  OF 2014
                (Arising out of S.L.P.(c) No. 24317 of 2013)


      Dr. Balwant Singh
Appellant(s)


Versus


Commissioner of Police & Ors.                      Respondent(s)



                               J U D G M E N T

Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.

      1.    Leave granted

2.    This appeal arises out of an order  dated  21.05.2013  passed  by  the
Division Bench of  the High Court of  Judicature  for  Rajasthan  at  Jaipur
Bench, Jaipur in D.B. Civil Special Appeal (Writ)  No.  378  of  2013  which
arises out of an order dated 25.02.2013 passed by the learned  Single  Judge
in  S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 2273 of 2013.
3.    By impugned order, the Division Bench disposed of the appeal filed  by
the appellant herein in the light of the assurance given  by  the  State  to
settle the controversy raised by the appellant in the writ  petition/appeal.

4.    Dissatisfied with the impugned order, the  appellant  has  filed  this
appeal by way of special leave before this Court.
5.    This Court issued notice to the respondents. On being served,  learned
counsel for the  respondents  filed  counter  affidavit  on  behalf  of  the
respondents.
6.    Heard learned counsel for the parties.
7.    In order to appreciate the  issue  involved  in  this  appeal,  it  is
necessary to mention the facts in brief.
8.     The  appellant  (writ  petitioner)  is   the   resident   of   Jaipur
(Rajasthan). He retired as Director General of  Police  in  March  1995.  To
settle  after  retirement,  the  appellant  constructed  his  house   in   a
residential colony opposite to Vidhyut  Bhawan  in  Jyoti  Nagar  in  Jaipur
city. The locality and, in  particular,  the  location  of  the  appellant's
house is very near to “Vidhan Sabha" (State Assembly Building).
9.     The  appellant  to  his  misfortune  noticed  that  very  frequently,
thousand/hundreds of people  belonging  to  political/non-political  parties
would gather on the road approaching to Vidhan Sabha, which is in  front  of
his house, with agitated mood and would undertake their “Protests March”  or
"Dharna" or "Procession" for ventilating their  grievances.  The  protestors
then would use indiscriminately loudspeakers by erecting temporary stage  on
the road and go on delivering speeches one after the  other  throughout  the
day which sometimes used to continue for  indefinite  period  regardless  of
time. Since there used to be a gathering  of  thousand/hundreds  of  people,
the demonstrators would indiscriminately make use of the compound  walls  of
nearby houses including that of the appellant’s  house  to  ease  themselves
frequently at any time.
10.   In order to regulate  such  events  and  to  maintain  law  and  order
situation, the State and Police Administration used to  put  barricades  and
depute hundreds of  police  personnel  to  see  that  no  untoward  incident
occurs. These barricades used to be installed just in front of the gates  of
the houses of the residents including  the  appellant's  house.  The  police
personnel like others would also use the walls  of  the  residential  houses
including that of the  appellant's  house  to  ease  and  nobody  was  in  a
position to tell them not to do such activities in front  of  their  houses.
The appellant also noticed that these  activities  had  gained  considerable
momentum making living of  the  residents  of  that  area  a  miserable  one
because neither they were in a position to stay comfortably  and  peacefully
inside the house or do any work due to constant noise pollution nor were  in
a position to come out of their house due to  constant  fear  of  insecurity
and restrictions put by the State.
11.   The appellant was one of the most affected  persons  whose  living  in
his house had become impossible due  to  these  activities  and  finding  no
solution  to  the  problem  faced,  compelled  him  to  first  approach  the
Commissioner of Police and make  an  oral  complaint  but  finding  that  no
action was taken, filed a written complaint on 21.11.2011 (Annexure P-1).
12.    In  the  complaint,  the  appellant   narrated   the   aforementioned
grievances in detail and  requested  the  Commissioner  of  Police  to  take
immediate effective remedial steps to prevent such events.

13.   Since the Commissioner of Police  did  not  take  any  action  on  the
complaint, the appellant,  on  06.03.2012,  filed  a  complaint  before  the
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi under the  provisions  of
the Human Rights Commission Act,  2005  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  “the
Act”). The NHRC forwarded the appellant's complaint to the  Rajasthan  State
Human Rights Commission (RSHRC) for taking appropriate action in  accordance
with law. The RSHRC, on receipt  of  the  complaint,   registered  the  same
being Petition No. 12/17/1720 and by order dated 24.09.2012  partly  allowed
the appellant's petition and  directed  the  Additional  Home  Secretary  to
order the concerned officials to  effectively  stop  interference  with  the
right of the appellant herein to lead an independent and peaceful  life  and
ensure that :


“1.    The crowd of demonstrators does not assemble, on both roads  opposite
to the petitioner’s house during the assembly sessions.

2.    The demonstrators are not allowed to  use  high  powered  loudspeakers
during day and night.

The road is not closed  after  stopping  traffic  and  traffic  movement  is
maintained in a sustained and orderly manner.

The policemen are stopped from urinating in the proximity  of  the  wall  of
the petitioner’s house from the side of  the  M.L.A.’s  complex  during  the
Assembly Sessions.

No barricading is done on the road opposite to, and near, the house  of  the
petitioner.”

14.   Despite issuance of the aforementioned directions, the State  did  not
ensure its compliance and on the other hand, some  miscreants  attacked  the
appellant’s house and hence out of disgust, the appellant was  compelled  to
file writ petition being S.B.Civil Writ Petition No.  2273  of  2013  before
the High Court of Rajasthan Bench at Jaipur, seeking appropriate reliefs  by
issuance  of  writ  of  prohibition/mandamus  against  the  State  and   its
authorities to protect the interest of the appellant, his property  and  his
peaceful living.
15.   Learned single Judge,  by  order  dated  25.02.2013  disposed  of  the
appellant's writ petition observing that since the State has  already  taken
all necessary steps in the light of the directions given  by  the  RSHRC  in
their order dated 24.09.2012 and hence no more orders are called for in  the
writ petition.
16.   Learned Single Judge, in the concluding part of  his  order,  observed
as under:
“……..I am of the considered view that no order on the reliefs prayed for  by
the petitioner be passed as the  State  Government  has  already  taken  all
requisite action within its powers to ensure that the  peace  and  quiet  of
the petitioner living in his residential house at Jyoti  Nagar  locality  in
proximity to Vidhan Sabha is not unduly disturbed.   It  would  be  expected
that  measures  detailed  by  the  Additional  Advocate   General   in   his
submissions before this Court would be implemented strictly.”


17.   The appellant, felt aggrieved, filed intra  court  appeal  before  the
Division Bench of the High Court  out  of  which  this  appeal  arises.  The
Division Bench, by impugned order, more or less on the same lines  on  which
the learned Single Judge had disposed of  the  writ  petition,  decided  the
appellant's appeal.

18.   The Division Bench in the concluding part of their order  observed  as
under:
       “In  view  of  that  assurance  extended  on  behalf  of  the   State
Government, the learned single Judge  has  already  reached  the  conclusion
that the directions issued by the Human Rights Commission, Rajasthan in  its
order dated 24.9.2012, have  substantially  been  complied  with.   At  this
stage, the Division Bench of this Court cannot  give  further  direction  in
the appeal.  The State Government obviously  shall  also  comply  with  such
order and act in conformity with assurance given  before  the  single  Bench
and take special care to ensure that peace  and  quiet  of  the  petitioner,
living in his residential house at Jyoti  Nagar  locality  in  proximity  to
Vidhan Sabha is not unduly disturbed.”

It is against the aforementioned order of the Division Bench, the  appellant
(writ petitioner) has filed this appeal.
19.   The respondents have filed their  counter  affidavit.  The  State,  on
affidavit, has stated that it is their duty to ensure that no harm,  injury,
damage or inconvenience/nuisance of any nature is caused  to  the  life  and
property of any citizen on account of any action  and  activities  of  other
person(s) or/and State  authorities  and  all  personal/fundamental/property
rights guaranteed and recognized in law to every citizen  are  protected  to
enable him to lead a meaningful life with dignity  and  peace  and  to  also
enjoy his property.  It is further stated that in compliance  to  the  order
passed  by  RSHRC,  the  State  has  issued  directions  for  ensuring   its
compliance which are as under:

      “a. Deputy Commissioner of Police has been put in charge of  the  area
in order to ensure law  and  order  in  and  around  the  residence  of  the
petitioner.

  b.  Barricading  at  appropriate  distance  from  the  residence  of   the
petitioner so that  the  movement  of  the  residents  as  well  as  of  the
petitioner is not restricted as such and also because of  the  demonstration
in specific. When the legislative assembly  is  in  session  barricading  is
done at least 60 feet away from the residence of the petitioner.

 c. Mobile public toilets (two vehicles) have been placed by  the  Rajasthan
Municipal Corporation in the concerned area so that  hygiene  is  maintained
in and around the area which has been  affected  by  regular  demonstration.
Further all cautions have been taken that the public  uses  such  facilities
and neither police personnel on duty nor  the  demonstrator  may  spoil  the
walls of the petitioner by  urinating.

d. Prior permission as per the Rules  are  being  given  by  the  office  of
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Jaipur  (South)  to   the  demonstrators  and
District Collector is directed to ensure that while  giving  permission  for
demonstration it may also check that no instruments are allowed  which  may
violate the Rules or cause noise pollution.”

20.   It is with this background, the question  arises  as  to  whether  the
directions issued so far need any further modification and if  so,  to  what
extent.
21.   The law on  nuisance  is  well  settled.   Nuisance  in  any  form  as
recognized in the law of Torts - whether private,  public  or  common  which
results in affecting anyone's personal or/and property rights  gives  him  a
cause of action/right to seek remedial measures  in  Court  of  law  against
those who caused such nuisance to him and  further  gives  him  a  right  to
obtain necessary reliefs both  in  the  form  of  preventing  committing  of
nuisance and appropriate damages/compensation for the loss, if sustained  by
him, due to causing of such nuisance. (See - Ratanlal  Dhirajlal  -  Law  of
Torts by G.P.Singh - 26th Edition pages-621,637,640).
22.   We may, at this stage, consider apposite to  take  note  of  law  laid
down by this Court in Noise Pollution(V), In  Re  -  Implementation  of  the
Laws for restricting use of loudspeakers and  high  volume  producing  sound
systems, (2005) 5 SCC 733, as in our considered  view,  it  has  a  material
bearing over the issue, which is the subject matter of this appeal.

23.   This Court while  entertaining  the  PIL  filed  by  one  Organization
called "Forum, Prevention of environmental  and  sound  pollution"  had  the
occasion to examine the issue in relation to  nuisance  of  noise  pollution
caused to the people at large due to  use  of  equipments/apparatus/articles
etc.  The  noise  pollution  caused  generates  different  kinds  of  sounds
thereby constantly creates irritation and disturbance to the  people.  Since
it was a continuing wrong all over the country and  hence,  this  Court,  in
great detail, examined the  issue  in  the  light  of  the  citizens  rights
guaranteed under Articles 19(1), 21 and 25 of  the  Constitution  of  India,
read with all laws/rules/regulations relating to pollution, including  penal
laws governing this issue.
24.   Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti (as His Lordship  then  was),  speaking  for
the Bench in concluding para of the order,  issued  directions  to  all  the
States directing them to ensure that noise pollution caused due  to  use  of
various apparatus/ articles/ activities must be  curbed  and  controlled  by
resorting to  methods  and  modes  specified  in  several  rules/regulations
dealing the subject.   These directions are extracted herein below:

“XII. Directions
It is hereby directed as under:
(i) Firecrackers
174. 1. On a comparison of the  two  systems  i.e.  the  present  system  of
evaluating firecrackers on the basis of noise levels, and  the  other  where
the firecrackers shall be evaluated on the basis  of  chemical  composition,
we feel that the latter method is more  practical  and  workable  in  Indian
circumstances. It shall be followed unless and until replaced  by  a  better
system.
2. The Department of Explosives (DOE)  shall  undertake  necessary  research
activity for the purpose and come out with the chemical  formulae  for  each
type  or  category  or  class  of  firecrackers.  DOE  shall   specify   the
proportion/composition as well as the maximum permissible  weight  of  every
chemical used in manufacturing firecrackers.
[pic]3. The Department of Explosives may divide the  firecrackers  into  two
categories— (i) sound-emitting firecrackers, and (ii)  colour/light-emitting
firecrackers.
4. There shall be a complete ban  on  bursting  sound-emitting  firecrackers
between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. It is not necessary to impose restrictions as  to
time on bursting of colour/light-emitting firecrackers.
5. Every manufacturer shall on the box of each firecracker  mention  details
of its chemical contents and that it satisfies the requirement as laid  down
by DOE. In case of a failure on the part of the manufacturer to mention  the
details or in cases where the contents of the box do not match the  chemical
formulae as stated on the box, the manufacturer may be held liable.
6. Firecrackers for the  purpose  of  export  may  be  manufactured  bearing
higher  noise  levels  subject  to  the  following   conditions:   (i)   the
manufacturer should be permitted to do so only when he has an  export  order
with him and not otherwise; (ii) the noise  levels  for  these  firecrackers
should conform to the noise standards prescribed in  the  country  to  which
they are intended to be exported  as  per  the  export  order;  (iii)  these
firecrackers should have a different colour packing, from those intended  to
be sold in India;  (iv)  they  must  carry  a  declaration  printed  thereon
something like “not for sale in India” or “only for export  to  country  AB”
and so on.


(ii) Loudspeakers
175. 1. The  noise  level  at  the  boundary  of  the  public  place,  where
loudspeaker or public address system or any  other  noise  source  is  being
used shall not exceed 10 dB(A) above the ambient  noise  standards  for  the
area or 75 dB(A) whichever is lower.
2. No one shall beat a drum or tom-tom or blow a trumpet or  beat  or  sound
any instrument or use any sound amplifier at night (between 10.00  p.m.  and
6 a.m.) except in public emergencies.
3. The peripheral noise level of  privately-owned  sound  system  shall  not
exceed by more than 5 dB(A) than the ambient air-quality standard  specified
for the area in which it is used, at the boundary of the private place.
(iii) Vehicular noise
176. No horn should be allowed to be used at night (between 10  p.m.  and  6
a.m.) in residential area except in exceptional circumstances.
(iv) Awareness
177. 1.  There  is  a  need  for  creating  general  awareness  towards  the
hazardous effects of noise pollution. Suitable chapters may be added in  the
textbooks which  teach  civic  sense  to  the  children  and  youth  at  the
initial/early-level of education. Special talks and  lectures  be  organised
in the [pic]schools to highlight the menace of noise pollution and the  role
of the children and younger generation in preventing it.  Police  and  civil
administration should be trained to understand the various methods  to  curb
the problem and also the laws on the subject.
2. The State must play an active role  in  this  process.  Resident  Welfare
Associations, service  clubs  and  societies  engaged  in  preventing  noise
pollution as a part of their projects need to  be  encouraged  and  actively
involved by the local administration.
3. Special public awareness campaigns in anticipation of  festivals,  events
and ceremonial occasions whereat firecrackers are likely to  be  used,  need
to be carried out.
The abovesaid guidelines are issued in exercise of power conferred  on  this
Court under Articles 141 and 142 of the Constitution. These would remain  in
force  until  modified  by  this  Court  or  superseded  by  an  appropriate
legislation.
(v) Generally
178. 1. The States shall make provision  for  seizure  and  confiscation  of
loudspeakers, amplifiers and  such  other  equipment  as  are  found  to  be
creating noise beyond the permissible limits.
2. Rule 3 of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000  makes
provision for specifying ambient air-quality standards in respect  of  noise
for different areas/zones, categorisation of the areas for  the  purpose  of
implementation  of  noise  standards,  authorising   the   authorities   for
enforcement  and  achievement  of   laid   down   standards.   The   Central
Government/State  Governments  shall  take  steps  for  laying   down   such
standards and notifying the  authorities  where  it  has  not  already  been
done.”

25.   We note with concern that though the aforesaid directions were  issued
by this Court on 18.07.2005 for ensuring compliance by all  the  States  but
it  seems  that  these  directions  were  not  taken  note  of   much   less
implemented, at least, by the State of Rajasthan in letter and  spirit  with
the result that the residents of Jaipur city had to suffer the  nuisance  of
noise pollution apart from other related peculiar issues mentioned above  so
far as the appellant's case is concerned.
26.   Needless to reiterate that once this Court decides  any  question  and
declares the law and issues necessary directions then it is the duty of  all
concerned to follow the law laid down and comply the  directions  issued  in
letter and spirit by virtue of mandate  contained  in  Article  141  of  the
Constitution.
27.    In  our  considered  view,  in  the  light   of   the   authoritative
pronouncement rendered by this Court on the issue of noise pollution in  the
case of Noise Pollution (V), In Re (supra), it is  not  necessary  for  this
Court to again  deal  with  the  same  issue  except  to  issue  appropriate
directions for its compliance.
28.   We, accordingly, direct the respondents to  ensure  strict  compliance
of the directions contained in Para 174 to  178  of  the  judgment  of  this
Court  in  Noise  Pollution  (V),  In  Re  (supra),  and  for  ensuring  its
compliance, whatever remedial steps which are required to be  taken  by  the
State and their concerned department(s), the same be taken at  the  earliest
to  prevent/check  the  noise  pollution  as  directed  in   the   aforesaid
directions.
29.    Now  so  far  as  the  disturbance  created   by   the   police/state
officials/people at large in the appellant’s peaceful living  in  his  house
is concerned, in our considered view, they do result in adversely  affecting
 the appellant’s rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the  Constitution  as
held by this Court in  Noise Pollution  (V),  In  Re  (supra)  and  also  in
Ramlila Maidan Incident in Re, (2012) 5 SCC  1.   The  RSHRC  and  the  writ
Court were, therefore, justified in entertaining  the  complaint  under  the
Act and the writ petition under Article 226 of  the  Constitution  of  India
and in consequence justified  in  giving  appropriate  directions  mentioned
above while disposing the appellant's complaint/writ petition.
30.   We, however, note that the State  was  right  on  their  part  in  not
contesting   the   appellant's   complaint/writ    petition    by    raising
technical/legal grounds  finding  the  appellant's  grievance  made  in  his
complaint to be genuine and then rightly came out with remedial  suggestions
to deal with the situation arising in the case.
31.   Indeed, this reminds us of the subtle  observations  made  by  Justice
M.C. Chagla, Chief Justice of Bombay High Court in Firm Kaluram Sitaram  Vs.
The Dominion of India, AIR 1954 Bombay 50, wherein while deciding  the  case
between the  citizen on the one hand and State on  the  other,  the  learned
Chief Justice in his distinctive style of  writing  reminded  the  State  of
their duty towards the citizens while contesting his rights  qua  State  and
made the following observations.
“….we have often had occasion to say  that  when  the  State  deals  with  a
citizen it should not ordinarily rely on technicalities, and  if  the  State
is satisfied that the case of the citizen is a just one, even  though  legal
defences may be open to it, it  must  act,  as  has  been  said  by  eminent
judges, as an honest person……….”

32.   We are in complete agreement with the aforementioned statement of  law
laid down in Firm Kaluram Sitaram (supra) as far back as  in  1954.  In  our
considered view, the Constitution, inter alia, casts a  duty  on  the  State
and their authorities  to  ensure  that  every  citizen's  cherished  rights
guaranteed to him under the Constitution are respected  and  preserved,  and
he/she   is   allowed  to  enjoy  them  in  letter  and  spirit  subject  to
reasonable restrictions put on  them,  as  dreamt  by  the  framers  of  the
Constitution.  Intervention of the Court is called for at  the  instance  of
citizen when these rights are violated by fellow citizens or  by  any  State
agency.
33.   We have perused the steps suggested by  the  State  in  their  counter
affidavit and find that if the steps suggested by the State are  implemented
in letter and spirit and further  the  implementation  is  observed  in  its
proper perspective by the State  and  its  authorities  from  time  to  time
coupled with any other good suggestions, if noticed, while implementing  the
suggestions, then  most  of  the  problems  presently  being  faced  by  the
appellant and many others  like  him  in  the  concerned  area(s)  would  be
reduced to a large extent.
34.   We, accordingly, direct the respondents to  ensure  strict  compliance
of the conditions/steps mentioned in Paras 5  (a)  to  (d)  of  the  Counter
Affidavit  extracted  above  and  while  ensuring  its  compliance,  if  the
respondents consider that it needs some  amendment(s)  for  ensuring  better
implementation then in such eventuality, the same  be  done  in  the  larger
interest of the  residents  of  the  concerned  area  and  equally  for  the
benefits of the residents of different parts in the State. Needless to  say,
while implementing the directions, its objective should always be to  ensure
that the rights of the citizens are not affected adversely by  any  kind  of
nuisance as mentioned above.
35.   In view of the  foregoing  discussion  and  the  directions  contained
above, the appeal succeeds and is allowed in  part.  Impugned  order  stands
modified to the extent mentioned above.



                               ……………………………………………………J.
                                          [FAKKIR MOHAMED IBRAHIM KALIFULLA]


                                       .….…...............................J.
                                                       [ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]

New Delhi;
November 07, 2014.

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