The contribution of M. C Mehta towards the protection of the environment is truly outstanding. He is a lawyer by profession and by choice he is an environmentalist. He is famous for his continuous fights in Courts for the protection of the environment.
Mahesh Chandra Mehta was born in a small village in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir. He was inspired from nature in his childhood days, which lead him to felt in love with nature and had a strong commitment towards protecting it.
He got his primary education from his village, later from the school of Rajouri he got his higher education, which was 15 KM away from his village. Every day he used to travel from his village to school and went back from school by crossing two rivers.
After the completion of his higher education in Rajouri, he moved Jammu University for the purpose of obtaining degree in Political Science and Law. After getting Law degree, he started to practice in Jammu and Kashmir High Court. He had involved actively in social and political issue during his days in Jammu and used to raise his voice against corruption and motivated students and youths to stand against the discrimination that taking place in Jammu.
In 1983, he migrated Delhi and from then his career as an advocate of Supreme Court began, from the next year he started to focus environmental litigations.
Here are some of the famous cases, where M.C Mehta fought for the protection of environment.
M.C Mehta Vs Union of India (Taj Mahal Case):
Taj Mahal which is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture and one of the seven wonders in the world was facing a serious threat from pollution caused by nearby industries.
The Taj Mahal and other historical monuments were facing a serious danger because of acid rain resulted from high toxic emission from these industries.
M.C Mehta had filed a petition in Supreme Court in 1984, and in 1996 the Apex Court gave a historical verdict in which the Court banned the use of cole and cake, and also directed these industries to use Compressed Natural Gas.
M.C Mehta Vs Union of India (Ganga Pollution Case):
River Ganga is a very sacred one among the Hindu people, it flows through India and Bangladesh. But this holy river getting polluted due to tanneries and shop factories in the banks of the river in Kanpur. The river Ganga became so polluted that it could no longer for either drinking of bathing.
M.C Mehta filed a writ petition in Supreme Court for the prevention of nuisance, which resulting the pollution in the river. The Court, in this case, had issued several directions to Kanpur Municipal Corporation, Court also pronounced that all these directions are also applicable for all other Municipalities which have jurisdiction over areas in which River Ganga flows.
After this case, the Supreme Court ordered the Central Government to direct all the educational institutions to teach at least one hour in a week for the protection and improvement of our environment in the first ten classes.
M.C Mehta Vs Union of India (Oleum Gas Leak Case):
Oleum Gas Leak case is also known as Shiriram Gas Leak case. It was a very significant one in the environmental field. Shriram Food and Fertilizers was a subsidiary of a privately owned company Delhi Cloth Mill Limited.
They have a single complex for all of their units, which situated near a thickly populated area of Delhi. Within a very few days, it created a nuisance for the surroundings of local people.
M.C Mehta filed a Public Interest Litigation for the immediate closure and relocation of the complex. On 4th December 1985 after one month of filing the petition, the Oleum had leaked from the complex. As a result, several people injured.
In this case, the Supreme Court gave a landmark verdict and the rule of Absolute Liability laid down. The Court also inserted a new chapter to the Factories Act and made several changes in environmental laws.
M.C Mehta Vs Union of India (Vehicular Pollution Case):
Against vehicular pollution, the Supreme Court had delivered a landmark judgment in 1992.
As per that judgment, retired Judge of the Supreme Court was appointed along with three other members to suggest measures for the nationwide management of transport pollution.
Orders for providing Lead-free fuel within the country, and for the use of gas and alternative mode of fuels to be used within the vehicles are passed and carried out. Lead-free fuel had been introduced within the four metropolitan cities from April 1995; all new cars registered from April 1995 forwards are fitted with chemical action convertors.
M.C Mehta Vs Union of India (Ground Water Pollution case)
Five small chemical industries were operating at Rajasthan’s Bichhri without the proper flowing plant. Toxic effluents from these industries were entering the ground water and walls, which affected 14 nearby villages.
M.C Mehta filed a petition on Supreme Court, and after a fight of five years in Court, the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in March 1996. By that Judgment, these factories were closed.