Justice G.C.Bharuka

M/s. Suma Traders vs Chairman , K.S.Pollution Control Board

Reported in AIR 1998 Kant. 8.

( 1. ) THE petitioner herein is aggrieved by the order dt. 10-12-1996 (ann. 'l') passed by the respondent Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Board (in short hereinafter the Board) whereunder the Chairman purporting to exercise his powers under S. 31-A of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 (in short hereinafter the Act only), has directed for closure of the industry owned by the petitioner with a further direction to the concerned statutory authorities to stop the supply of electricity, water or any other services extended to the said industry. He has also directed the petitioner to shift their industry to an industrial locality. ( 2. ) THE petitioner is running a grain cleaning unit in the name and style M/s. Suma Traders at 7th Main, Gopalagowda Nagar, Syndicate Bank Colony, Moodalapalya, Bangalore. For processing the food grains, the petitioner has installed various machines. The area in which the factory is located is admittedly residential. It appears that the residents of the area being aggrieved with the causing of pollution of air and environment due to running of the said industry, had lodged a complaint with the respondent Board for closure/shifting of the industry. Pursuant to the said complaint, the Chairman of the respondent Board took upon himself to hear the affected parties including the petitioner and passed the impugned order. The short, but an important question touching upon the very functioning of the Board has crept up for consideration in this case. It has been admitted by the respondents that the impugned order has been passed by the Chairman of the Board and not the Board itself. The impugned order has been articulated in a manner so as to give an impression as if it has been passed by the Board itself. The question is, as to whether the Chairman of the Board has any competence under the Act to pass any order under S. 31a of the Act. Section 31a of the Act reads as under - "section 31a - POWER TO GIVE DIRECTIONS - Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, but subject to the provisions of this Act and to any directions that the Central Government may give in this behalf a Board may, in the exercise of its powers and performance of its functions under this Act, issue any directions in writing to any person, officer or authority, and such person, officer or authority shall be bound to comply with such directions. Explanation - For the avoidance of doubts, it is hereby declared that the powers to issue directions under this section includes the power to direct - (a) the closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process; or (b) the stoppage or regulation of supply of electricity, water or any other services. ( 3. ) FROM the above provision, it is clear that the power under S. 31a of the Act can be exercised by the Board. But S. 15 of the Act empowers the Board to delegate its powers. This section reads as under- "delegation OF POWERS - A State Board may, by general or special order, delegate to the Chairman or the member secretary or any other officer of the Board subject to such conditions and limitations, if any, as may be specified in the order, such of its powers and functions under this Act as it may deem necessary. " In the present case, it has been fairly admitted by the learned Advocate General appearing for the respondent Board and its Chairman that there was no delegation of power in favour of the Chairman to pass order under S. 31-A of the Act with regard to the industry of the petitioner. Nonetheless, his submission is that since the order has been passed in consonance with the object of the Act, namely, to prevent and control the air pollution and to remedy the inconvenience of the residents of the area, therefore, this Court should not interfere with the order in exercise of its extraordinary writ jurisdiction. Any how, subsequent to completion of hearing of the case, a memo has also been filed on behalf of the respondent Board stating therein, that the impugned proceedings will be withdrawn and in that view of the matter the writ petition may be dismissed as having become infructuous. ;