IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARANTAKA
Hon'ble Justice R.Gururajan
W.P.No.8460-8466 of 2004. Dated 9th
Karnataka State Pollution Control Officers Association vs
State of Karnataka.
These petitions are filed seeking for a writ of
quo-warrant and for various prayers.
2. The petitioners state that the3rd respondent is a Statutory Board
constituted for the State of Karnataka in terms of the provisions of Sec.4 of
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. The State Board is
governed by Sec. 4(2) of the Act. Clause (f) of Sec. 4 (2) empowers the State
Government to appoint the Member-Secretary. The 3rd respondent is required to
perform its duties in terms of the Act with regard to pollution. The
petitioner states that the 2nd respondent has issued a notification bearing
No. Apajee 23 EPC 2004 dated 23.2.2004 appointing the 4th respondent as the
Member-Secretary of the 3rd respondent Board with immediate effect. Annexure
‘A’ is the notification. The petitioners state that the 4th respondent is an
IAS Officer. She has held different posts in various Governmental Department
and under local Authorities. The 4th respondent holds the educational
qualification of BA and IAS. She joined the service of the Government and has
held the following posts:
1. Assistant Commissioner, Sagar
2. Chief Executive Officer, Mysore Zilla Parishad
3. Managing Director, women Development Corporation
4. Joint Registrar of Co-operative Societies
5. Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Mahanagara Palike
3. According to the petitioner, the 4th respondent does not has the
educational qualifications and that she cannot be said to have acquired any
knowledge or experience of scientific, engineering or administrational aspects
of pollution control in terms of Sec. 4(2)(f) of the Act. They say that a
declaration has to be issued declaring that she is not qualified to hold the
post and consequently direct her to vacate as member Secretary in the Board.
4. Notice was issued. Respondents have entered appearance. State Government
has filed a very detailed objection statement opposing the prayers. They deny
the allegation with regard to disqualification in terms of the Act. They say
in para 9 that the 4th respondent is a directly recruited Indian
Administrative Service Officer of 1996 batch. Rule 9 of the Administrative
Service (Pay) Rules, 1954 the post of Member Secretary, Karnataka State
Pollution Control Board, Bangalore has been declared as equivalent to the
cadre post of Deputy Secretary to Government in the senior scale of IAS
included in Schedule III-B thereof published in the Extra-Ordinary Gazatte
dated 25.6.1999. It is stated that the 4th respondent has served as the Deputy
Commissioner (Development), Bangalore, Mahanagar Palike and she was
responsible for the collection, segregation, transportation of solid waste,
and was also closely associated with all other aspect of the health and
sanitation program of the Bangalore Mahanagar Palike. As Joint Secretary of
Co-Operative Societies, she was associated with the management of the
effluents of the C-operative sugar factories. They want the petition to be
5. The respondent No.3 has filed a statement of objections. In the objections,
it is stated that the contesting respondent is not any way disqualified to
hold the post of Member-Secretary. They say that the 4th respondent served in
various departments of Government, Corporations etc., in various capacities
which also involved managerial aspect of pollution Control. The 4th respondent
was assigned to monitor traffic problem and noise level in Sakleshpur Town. As
an Assistant Commissioner, Sagar Sub-division, she was closely involved with
four Municipalities of Sagar, Sorab, Shikaripur and Hosanagara and Solid Waste
Management issues thereof. As a Sub-divisional Magsitrate, she was exercising
the power under Section 133 of Cr.P.C monitoring public nuisance, noise,
water/air pollution etc. She had organized cleaning campaign around Jog Falls
and taken steps to promote it as an Eco-Tourism Destination. As a Deputy
Secretary in the Planning Statistics, Science and technology Department during
2000-01, the 4th respondent was closely working with the Jawajarlal Nehru
Planetorium, Karnataka Rajya, Vignana Parishat (KRVP) and Drought Monitoring
Cell. During this time KRVP had organized a lot of activities involving school
children etc. As a Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the 4th
respondent. The 4th respondent was in charge of health and sanitation
reporting directly to the Commissioner, BMP and the Executive Engineer in
charge of Solid Waste management were to directly report to the 4th respondent
who oversaw sanitation removal of solid waste, segregation transportation
discharge of solid waste and landfill sites. The 4th respondent was associated
with the Solid Waste Management Programme with the Bangalore Agenda Task
Force. They further say that the 4th respondent satisfied each one of the
conditions in terms of the provisions. They want the petition to be dismissed.
6. An affidavit is filed in court by the 4th respondent. She has stated in
para 2 that she did a Project on the traffic problem and noise levels in
Sakleshpur. She submitted a report to the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of
National Administration at Mussorie as an Assistant Commissioner., She was
involved with the Municipalities of Sagar, Soraba, Shikaripura and Hosanagara
and Hosanagara and the Solid Waste Management issued thereof. As a Deputy
Commissioner, she was in charge of Health and Sanitation and the chief Health
Officer of the BMP and the Executive Engineer in-charge of Solid Waste,
Segregation transportation etc. She also says that she was involved in various
activities. As Chief Executive Officer, Mysore Zilla Panchayath, she assisted
in the implementation of the Rs. 40 crore Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water
Programme, a massive programme for providing access to water for villagers and
undertook studies for checking groundwater and contamination of groundwater .
The Swachha Grama Yojane for wholesome development of villages was undertaken
by her. She says that she has good experience and she fulfills the
qualification. She wants the petition to be dismissed.
7. Heard the counsel for the parties.
8. Sri. Visweshwara, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioners
invites my attention to the provisions of the Act to say that the 4th
respondent lacks required educational qualification/experience in terms of the
provisions itself. He refers to a Judgment of this court in ILR 1994 Kar 212
to contend that in the event of no qualification the Member Secretary cannot
continue and any continuation would be nothing but usurpation of office. He
says that the 4th respondent does not have any achievement in the relatives
field. Learned Counsel says that a degree in engineering is a required
qualification in terms of the Act.
9. Per contra, learned Advocate General says that the 4th respondent was
appointed after taking into consideration the principle requirements in terms
of the Act. He refers to the earlier history of the Section to contend that no
case is made out.
10. After hearing the learned Counsel, I have carefully perused the material
on record. According to me, the only question that is required to be
considered is as to whether the 4th respondent fulfills the conditions in
terms of Sec. 4(2)(f). Sec. 4(2)(f) reads as under:
“a full-time Member-Secretary, possessing qualifications, knowledge and
experience of scientific, engineering or management aspects of pollution
control to be appointed by the State Government”.
11. The argument of the petitioners is that the 4th respondent neither has the
educational qualification nor she can said to have acquired any knowledge and
experience of scientific engineering or administrative action of Pollution
control in the matter. To consider the argument of the petitioners, it is
necessary to notice the Section prior to the present one, The Water Pollution
Control Act came into force on 23.3.1974 Section 4(2)(f) at the relevant point
of time stood as under:
“A full-time Member-Secretary qualified in public health engineering and
having administrative experience in matters relating to environmental
protection to be appointed by the State Government.
Sec. 4(2)(f) was amended by Act No. 44/78. The amended provision is reading as
“A full-time Member-Secretary qualified in public health engineering (and
having practical experience in matters relating to environmental protection)
to be appointed by the State Government”.
It was further amended in terms of the Act reading as under:
“A full time Member-Secretary possessing qualification, knowledge and
experience of scientific, engineering or management aspects of pollution
control, to be appointed by the State government”.
12. A combined reading of these provisions would show that earlier the
qualification of public health engineering was found to be necessary. The
legislative in its wisdom thereafter has omitted to specify any specific
qualification in this regard. What is clear therefore is that the intention of
the legislature is not to prescribe any Engineering qualification as argued by
the petitioners. Therefore, it is not possible for this Court to accept the
arguments of the petitioners that the 4th respondent ought to have an
engineering qualification for appointment of member secretary. The petitioner
further submitted that the earlier member secretary had to necessary
engineering qualification. It may be so. That by itself does not disqualify
the 4th best in the absence of any specific statutory requirement in terms of
the Act. A writ of quo-warranto is serious in nature. It results in usurpation
of office. Usurpation would arise only if somebody occupies a public office
without there being any requisite condition/qualification, experience etc., in
terms of the Stature. Therefore, in the absence of any specific requirement of
any engineering degree qualification in terms of the Act, it is not possible
for this Court to oust the 4th respondent in terms of Sec.4 (2)(f) in this
petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. This argument of the
petitioner is therefore requires to be rejected.
13. The petitioner further refer to the report of the High Powered Committee
on Management of Hazardous Wastes. It is seen from the said report that the
Committee has thought fir to say that scientific qualification must be
considered as an important factor when persons are appointed to positions in
such departments. It is no doubt a welcome measure and a desirable one. A
desire cannot partake a statutory requirement for the purpose of quo-warranto
proceedings. The report therefore cannot form the basis to oust the 4th
respondent as argued by the petitioner sin the absence of statutory
14. I must also notice that Sec. 4(2)(f) provides for possessing
qualification. Qualification need not be educational qualification always.
Qualification in terms of the Random House Dictionary of the English language
second edition would show
1. a quality, accomplishment, etc., that fits a person for some function
office or the like
2. a circumstance or condition required by law or custom for getting having,
or exercising a right, holding an office, or the like
3. The act of qualifying state of being qualified
4. Modification, limitation or restriction: to endorse a plan without
5. An instance of this: He protected his argument with several qualifications
(1535-45; <ML qualification-(s. of qualification), equiv, To qualificat (us) (ptp.
Of qualificare to QUAKIFY)+- ION-ion)
New Oxford Illustrated Dictionary would show Qualification:
1. Modification, restriction, limitation, restricting or limiting circumstance
2. Quality, accomplishment, etc., fitting person or thing (for post etc.,)
3. Condition that must be fulfilled before right can be acquired or office
held; document attesting such fulfillment
4. Attribution of qualify.
Qualification in terms of the Back’s Law Dictionary would mean “the possession
Individual of the qualities, properties or circumstances, natural or
adventitious which are inherently or legally necessary to render him eligible
to fill an office or to perform a public duty or function. Thus, a qualified
voter is one who meets the residency age, and registration requirements.
Qualification in terms of K.J. Aiyer’s Judicial Dictionary is that which makes
a man eligible to do an act or to assume a certain character, a limitation, a
The Oxford Reference Dictionary states that qualification is an accomplishment
fitting a person for a position or purpose, a thing that modifies or limits a
15. None of the dictionaries both Judicial and non judicial would show that
qualification has to be only an educational qualification as argued by the
Counsel. The word qualification is only an eligibility to fit into an office.
In the case on hand, in the absence of any specific educational qualification
in terms of the Rules, it cannot be said that the 4th respondent is ineligible
to assume the office in terms of Sec. 4(2)(f) of the Act.
16. At this stage, I must also notice the powers of the 4th respondent. The
4th respondent is only a member Secretary.
Chapter IV provides for powers and functions of Boards. Sec. 12 provides for
Member Secretary and Officers and other employees of the Board. The member
secretary is to exercise powers and perform such duties as may be delegated to
him by the Board or its Chairman.
Sub Sec. 4 provides for appointment of a consulting engineer to the Board with
such conditions as and when necessary.
A reading of the provisions would show that the member secretary is to
carryout the functions as assigned to him by the Board. The Board consists of
Engineers. In addition the Board offices also consists of environmental
officers with scientific or engineering qualification. Therefore, for proper
implementation of the Act, there are sufficient/environmental persons
available in the service of the Board. A mere non possession of a degree in
engineering or a degree in science does not in any way come in the way of
proper implementation of the Act by the Secretary. However, I deem it proper
to observe that the Government in its wisdom may as for as possible appoint
persons with engineering/scientific qualification for the post of member
secretary for better working as member secretary. Looking from any angle this
argument does not appeal to me. This argument is rejected.
17. The petitioners further argue that the4th respondent does not have
knowledge and experience of scientific engineering or management aspect of
pollution control in the matter. It is seen from the material on record that
the petitioner is a qualified graduate in addition to her having a
qualification of IAS.
The respondent has filed an affidavit and in the affidavit it is stated that
the petitioner did involve herself in air pollution water pollution while
working as Assistant commissioner in Sagar Sub Division from August 1998 to
January 200. She has sworn to an affidavit that she had done the
implementation of water and air Acts. She has also stated that she was in
charge of health and sanitation and Chief Health Officer of the Bangalore
Mahanagara Palike and the Executive in charge of solid waste, segregation,
transportation, discharge of solid waste were reporting to her. She was also
involved with the solid waste management programme at the Bangalore Agenda
Task Force. She has also undertaken to do other works in terms of the
affidavit. A reading of the affidavit would show that it cannot be said that
she is a novice to this subject. She has experience of pollution in the
matter. She was managing in her various capacity certain aspects of pollution.
Therefore, it cannot be said that she lacks neither knowledge nor experience
as sought to be made out by the petitioners. This argument also does not
appeal to me.
18. Lastly, the petitioners strongly rely on a Judgment of this court rendered
in W.P.No.32769/1993 and W.P.No.33051/1993 dated 8.11.1993 reported in 1993
Kar 212. I have carefully perused the said Judgment. A reading of the said
Judgment would show that this Court has no where stated that engineering
qualification is necessary as I see from the Judgment itself. On the other
hand, the Advocate General in the said case has stated that if the Court finds
that the member secretary does not possess the required qualification the
department would make alternative arrangement by posting a fully qualified
person. This Judgment does not in any way help the petitioners.
19. No grounds are made out. Petitioner are rejected. Parties are to bear
their respective costs on the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case.
20. Ordered accordingly.