30 Nov 2023 7:55 AM GMT
While dealing with a case relating to illegal quarrying, the Madras High Court recently remarked that law must be potent enough to deal with people in power and those having higher connections. Justice N Anand Venkatesh observed that law was not only meant to be used against ordinary citizens but against the powerful also, whenever they committed any illegal act. The court added...
While dealing with a case relating to illegal quarrying, the Madras High Court recently remarked that law must be potent enough to deal with people in power and those having higher connections.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh observed that law was not only meant to be used against ordinary citizens but against the powerful also, whenever they committed any illegal act. The court added that if no action was to be taken against such persons, the law will remain a damp squib.
“Law must be potent enough to operate against the people in power and persons having higher connections and it cannot remain subservient. Law is not meant to be used only against ordinary citizens and it nourishes more power and strength only when it is effectively applied against such people in power and persons with higher contact, whenever they commit a crime or violate any rule or regulation. If law is incapable of handling such powerful persons, it will remain to be a damp squib,” the court observed.
The court was hearing a plea seeking action against a private individual (respondent No.9), alleging that he had been illegally quarrying the lands belonging to the petitioner without any valid permission.
The District Collector informed the court that respondent No.9 was permitted gravel quarrying in a particular land but taking advantage of the permission, he had done illegal mining activities in adjacent lands, which belonged to the petitioner. It was further informed that respondent No.9 had created a quarry pit of nearly 10-15 feet in the subject properties and minerals to the tune of 89,992 CBM of gravel had been extracted.
The Collector also apprised the court that there was water logging in the place where illegal quarrying was done and no survey could be conducted for more than a year by the officials.
On the petitioner's behalf, it was submitted that respondent No.9 had also indulged in fabrication of documents.
Noting that enquiries were going on without registration of an FIR, and that a cognizable offence had been made out, the court directed the Crime Branch Unit to register an FIR immediately and to proceed against the accused persons in accordance with law. Apart from IPC offences, the court noted that offences under the Mines and Minerals Act must also form part of the investigation.
It also observed that respondent No.9 had indulged in illegal quarrying for a long period of time and the same was not possible without the patronage of officials. The fact that neither any action was taken to date nor an FIR registered showed the influence of accused, the court said.
Before parting with its order, the court expressed its hope that the District Collector, Trichy would take immediate action against the illegal quarrying.
Case Title: Mangalam v. The State Government and Others, WP (MD) 21450/2021
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 373