Title :       Limestone Quarries In Doon Valley
   Author : Miss Neha Bahl  




This paper is based on the field survey of the Dehra Dun Valley currently in Uttaranchal, done by the researcher, where the blasting of mountains is illegally done by the limestone quarry mafias. The researcher herself inquired about the fumes which were the outcome of limestone kiln. She had visited village Tapovan and Sahastradhara and she was shocked to see that a number of limestone kilns were being operated.

After visit to these two places and after taking interview of about a dozen labourers working in these kilns, she realized that the operation of these limestone quarries are definitely disturbing the ecological balance and creating environmental pollution. On further enquiry, it revealed that first of all trees and other herbs are illegally felled. Thereafter, the mountains are broken into pieces and the small pieces of stones are heated in the kilns and limestone used for white-washing the houses, manufacture of steel, using it with tobacco and betel is being extracted.

Then she visited the village Rajpur, Jakan and the queen of hills, i.e., Mussoorie and she found that a number of limestone quarries were working. In Jakan village she interviewed the Pradhan of the village who told her that the contractors of limestone quarries are doing this business illegally inspite of ban imposed by Supreme Court of India. She researched and found that petitions were been filed by Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehra Dun (RLEK).1



“Man is preceded by Forest but followed by Desert”, says Graffito.2

The Doon valley has abundance of greenery. It is surrounded by forests from all the sides. On the one side, it has the hills of Mussoorie and on the other, it is bounded by Himalayan range which is the source of perennial rivers like Ganga, Jamuna and Brahmaputra and the Shivalik range. The perennial streams and the fertile soil have contributed not only to the growth of dense lush green forests but have also helped in the yields of Basmati rice. Mussoorie is known as the “Queen of Hills” and Dehradun has turned out to be an important place of tourism, centre of education and research.

At present the Doon Valley is in danger because of erratic, irrational and uncontrolled continuance of quarrying of limestone despite the SC directions to stop quarrying. The landscape has been stripped bare of its green cover, which is 10% of the area today while decades ago it was 70 %3. The Doon Valley once had an abundance of limpid water streams springing from the limestone aquifers. The abundant growth of bushes held the soil together. But unscientific mining and the uncontrolled cutting of trees had created havoc with vegetation and destroyed the ecology. The limestone belt has acted as the acquifer to hold and release water perennially. The tributaries of both Ganges and Yamuna continued to saturate the Valley. The Valley used to receive splendid rain during the season. The stored water was released in a continuous process and the streams even without the support of melting snow, provided perennial supply to the Yamuna. Reckless mining, careless disposal of the mines’ wastes, debris and random blasting operations have disturbed the natural water system and the supply of water both for drinking and irrigation has substantially gone down. There is a growing apprehension that if mining is carried on in this way, a stage will come when there would be scarcity of water in the entire belt.

Limestone mining operations in the Doon Valley became wide-spread during the decade between 1955 and 1965 and many of the leases were granted in 1962. After 1965, the negative effects of mining began to be felt. Peace and calmness of the valley was gone. Trees were felled at random and lush green forests disappeared.4 The clearance of forests has disastrous consequences. Forests are the means for maintaining and preserving the ecology. Clearance of forests has a negative impact on ecology.5 As a consequence of cutting down of trees, certain wildlife species have become extinct. A latest report in the Times of India shows that there is a total decline of tigers in the hills of our country.6

Even the SC had shown its concern towards the protection and conservation of forests and had issued directions to stop the illegal felling of trees.7 Continuous limestone mining and felling of trees for expansion purposes led to disruption in the ecological cycle. Blasting affected and shook up the hills. The rocks rolled down and killed or injured the cattle, damaged the cultivable lands and adversely affected the villagers. The natural beauty of the Queen of the Hills was no more to be seen. With the felling of the forests, rains became less. With the trees gone and the limestone dug out, the aquifers ceased to exist. The streams got blocked and the flow of water was substantially reduced. Tourist traffic was adversely affected. Irrigation was no more possible. The tributaries no longer fed the Yamuna sufficiently. Dehra Dun experienced scarcity of even drinking water.

The deterioration of the resource base had damaged food production. In most of the villages that lie below quarries, the irrigation channels had been destroyed by the flow of deposits and other debris from mines or from mining roads. Village Bhitarli in the Tons catchment was self-sufficient in food grains and had surplus food and milk production before the quarrying operations destroyed the food and fodder base of the village. But the submersion of the irrigation channels led to a drastic reduction in food production and the loss of grazing land had decreased the cattle population of eight households from 194 to 37.8

The entire area below the limestone belt could no longer be used for grazing and large areas had practically no vegetation as they were covered by debris from the mines. The few pockets of shrubs and forest that remains, were of no use for cattle because of the continuous danger of rocks rolling down the slopes as a result of blasting. An important economic activity based on animal husbandry was, therefore, being eroded and the decline in cattle population in areas affected by mining was 40 per cent. The decline in livestock population affected the production of milk, the production of energy for farm operations and the production of animal dung that provided soil fertility for sustainable agriculture. The overall result was the collapse of the food production system.

As a consequence of these problems, villagers living near the quarries were becoming increasingly dependent on non-agricultural incomes. The limestone quarries provided employment to many of these villagers who had been rendered unemployed. Quarrying affected agricultural activity not only in the villages, in the surrounding area of the quarries but also in the villages in the other parts of the Valley served by the canal network. The destruction of the hydrological stability of the region meant that there was less water than was previously available for irrigation. The lime rush which had been profitable for the quarry operators could be the only factor behind the ecological and economical collapse of the Valley.

The SC while deciding the issue of limestone quarries in Doon Valley,9  came across around 105 mining leases, which had direct environmental impact on the area. The limestone deposits in this area were of high grade having 99.8 % calcium carbonate. The SC observed the adverse effects of mining in the valley area and held that the digging of limestone and allowing the waste to roll down or carried down by rain water to the lower levels had affected the villages and the agricultural lands located below the hills. Blasting had disturbed the natural calmness of the area, had shaken the soil, loosened the rocky structures and disturbed the entire ecology of the area. Even the traffic hazards for the local population increased when the limestone was being removed from the mines.

The Valley, by the turn of the eighties had not only lost its natural beauty but had become prone to land slides, flash floods, water shortages, rising temperature and failing crop production. In short, it was a chilly forerunner of what the damaged Himalayan eco system would gradually cause on the entire Indo-Gangatic Plain. RLEK not only awakened the citizens of Doon Valley but pressurized the Govt. and moved the SC to save the Valley.


The heavy negative externalities of limestone quarrying in the Doon Valley had long aroused popular protests. This contradiction came to a climax when a large number of leases were due for renewal at the end of 1982. In 1981, the Department of Industries of UP had appointed a committee to decide the policy for renewal of the leases. According to the recommendations of this committee, quarrying was to be discontinued in the Sahastradhara area because of its impact on the Baldi Nadi and its consequent ill-effects on tourism. In the Arnigad Valley, quarrying was to be selectively continued while avoiding violation of mining rules or leased rights. It was further recommended that all quarrying on the main highway linking Dehradun and Mussoorie was to be discontinued. In the Bhitarli Valley, leases were to be renewed on merit.

The continuation of quarrying was recommended in the Nun Valley. In Banog, block quarrying was recommended on the condition that the Kempty Falls and the water pumping station for the township of Mussoorie were not damaged. In the Song Valley, total ban was recommended because of the practice of dip slope mining and the stability of the entire mountain was in danger. On these grounds, nine out of eighteen leases that were due for renewal were recommended to be allowed to continue. Others, however, were not recommended to be allowed to continue apparently on the basis of ecological considerations as well as for safety reasons.10

In the perspective of this lack of control by official agencies, PIL in the SC of India was the only alternative available for the protection of the citizens’ rights to vital resources, as well as for the assertion of social control on activities related to the utilization of common natural resources owned by the community or Govt. for public use.

On 12 March 1985, RLEK, filed a PIL in the form of a letter which was treated by the SC as a writ petition, which was heard by a bench consisting of Justice P.N. Bhagwati, Justice A.N. Sen and Justice R. N. Misra, concerning the issue of limestone quarrying in the Doon Valley.11

The case of Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun v. State of UP12, is a very significant case in the history of environment protection movement in India. It involved the issue of environment and ecological imbalance as well as pollution of rivers and streams and recognized the epistolary jurisdiction of the court and required a balance to be maintained between development and conservation of natural resources. The main allegation related to unauthorized and illegal mining operations carried on in the Mussooire hills and the area around it adversely affecting the ecology of the area which led to environmental disturbances. SC directed all fresh quarries to be stopped and called upon the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, Dehra Dun to strictly enforce the order.13

The SC appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Shri D. N. Bhargawa for the purpose of inspecting the mines with a view to determine whether safety standards laid down in the Mines Act, 1952 and the Metalliferous Mines Regulations, 1961 were being observed or not and whether there was any danger of landslides on account of quarrying particulars during the monsoon seasons. The committee in its report classified the mines in (a), (b), (c) categories and ordered the closure of mines in category (d) as they were not suitable for mining. On the basis of Bhargawa Committee report, the SC ordered the closure of mines in category (d) and the quarries located in Sahastradhara block and in category (b). The SC further directed the closure of the quarries in category (a) which were located within the municipal limits of Mussoorie. Later on, Bandopadhyaya Committee was constituted by the SC to examine the mine lessees.14

On the other hand, it was argued by the State of UP that Dehradun-Mussoorie limestone belt also met the requirement of the sugar, chemicals, steel and paper industry. There were over 90 sugar factories in UP which were dependant on limestone from Dehradun for its use in the process of manufacture. In order to meet the essential requirements of steel industry, it was necessary to maintain supply of low silica limestone from the belt. Keeping into mind the disastrous ecological consequences and the requirement of the industries, the Govt. took the view that if the limestone mining operations were to continue, they should be done on a limited scale and under strict regulation to ensure that they were done in an entirely scientific manner consistent with the vitality of preservation and restoration of ecology and environment of the area.15 There was no dispute that continuance of the mining operations would adversely affect the environment and ecology and at the same time would create an injurious situation against conservation of forests. It was, therefore, necessary that each of the working mines should work with an undertaking given to the Monitoring Committee that all care and attention should be bestowed to preserve ecological and environmental balance while carrying on the mining operations. The SC also took the view that a High Powered Committee should be set up to look after re-afforestation, mining activities and all other aspects necessary to bring back natural beauty in Doon Valley.16

The SC also found that most of the mines were either within reserved forests or in forests lands covered by the UP Amendment of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. If the mining operations were allowed in the area under strictest control, it would not only be violative of the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, but would also be injurious to the restoration of the forest growth. So, the SC took the view that mining in this area should be totally stopped.17

One of the mines that were allowed to continue operations by the interim order of the SC was the Nahi-Barkot mine operated by C.G. Gujral. The lease of the mine had expired in 1982, and for four years the quarry had been operated on the basis of an interim injunction from the local court in Dehradun. The ecological impact of limestone quarrying in the Nahi-Kala region was more acute since the area had rich resources of forests and water and since the mine was located at the origin of water resources and on a steep slope on the hill top.

In a report to the SC, the local divisional forest officer wrote that the vegetation is undergoing serious damage by the mining activity. The trees on the nala banks had been badly damaged. The land instability generated by quarrying, road construction and the related landslips also obstructed and depleted the natural flow of water in the streams, seriously affecting the local irrigation system.

The increase in the level of the beds of Sinsyaru Khala, Bidhalna and Jakhan rivers had led to enhanced cutting and erosion of the banks, destroying some of the best farm lands. It was mentioned that the nala was continuously widening, causing great damage to the agricultural fields of the village Barkot. The limestone quarry imposed a serious threat to the lives of villagers and their cattle. Irresponsible blasting at the quarry site had reportedly killed a number of cattle while grazing. As a result, families living near the quarry site had been forced to abandon their lands and houses and had to move away.

In Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun v. State of UP18, SC clarified that preservation of the environment and keeping the ecological balance unaffected is a task which not only the Govts. but also every citizen must undertake. It is a social obligation and fundamental duty of every citizen as enshrined u/A.51-A (g) of the Constitution.19 It was advised that the Govt. must come forward with a definite plan to keep the natural settings of the area intact.

The SC justified the closure of mining operations on the grounds that it was a price that had to be paid for protecting and safeguarding the right of the people to live in a healthy environment with minimum disturbance of ecological balance and without avoidable hazards to the people and to their cattle, homes and agricultural land and undue affection of air, water and environment.20 With this case, the SC had set precedence in accepting a stable and healthy environment as a human right and had intervened on behalf of citizens for just and sustainable development.

In General Public of Saproon Valley v. State of H.P21., mining of limestone in beautiful Saproon Valley situated close to Solan town in HP caused great damage to fields, environment and resulted in pollution of water and soil erosion of surrounding land and ecological imbalance. The HP HC directed the State Govt. to strike a balance between tapping of natural resources for the purposes of socio-economic development and preservation and protection of ecology by adoption of a long term perspective planning.

In Ambika Quarry Works v. State of Gujarat22 the application seeking the renewal of the lease was disallowed by the SC and it observed that the rejection of the prayer was in conformity with the purposes of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, i.e., preventing deforestation and ecological imbalance resulting from deforestation. Thus, SC tried to strike a balance between the need of exploitation of the mineral resources and the preservation of the ecological balance and the growing environmental deterioration.

In S. Sachidanand Pandey v. State of WB,23 the Court recognized society’s interaction with nature and the environmental question affecting the humanity. It is clear that preservation of ecology, environment and forests is a function not only of the State but of every individual as it aims to achieve social and economic justice.

Kinkar Devi v. State of H.P.24 was a case of indiscriminate blasting for extracting limestone in Shivalik Hills in Sermaur district. The SC directed the Govt. to close down the mining operations in the area and to evolve a long term plan to regulate the mining operations of minerals in the State without detriment to environment, ecology, natural wealth, resources and the residents of the area. A.14 of the Constitution has been invoked in this case which involves indiscriminate grant of mining leases and unchecked and unscientific exploitation of mines by lessees, especially in hilly tracts and regions of Himalayas.25

Obayya Pujari v. Member Secretary KSPCB, Bangalore26 is another case in which Karnataka HC directed State Govt. to immediately formulate a policy regulating carrying on of stone crushing business, to identify safer zones and to shift existing crushers to safer zones. The stone crushers which did not fell under safer zones were ordered to be closed down.

Stone crushing operations around Delhi caught the attention of the SC in the case of M.C. Mehta v. UOI,27 where M.C. Mehta objected to quarrying because the dust particles polluted the air and violated the town planning regulations. SC directed Central Pollution Control Board to inspect the plants and verify the allegations.28 Later in another case of M.C. Mehta v. UOI29 called the stone crushing case, SC issued a detailed order in which the quarrying units in Delhi and in the surrounding areas of Haryana were told to close down within 3 months. The quarry owners operating without licenses from the town planning authorities and even the quarry operators were issued closure orders under Section 31 A of the Air (Prevention & Control Pollution) Act, 1981 or Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The SC directed the Haryana authorities to allot alternative sites in new ‘crushing zone’ located at suitable distance from Delhi. The SC observed that it was aware that industrial development should take place in India but at the same time the quality of environment cannot be permitted to be damaged by the polluting air, water and land to such an extent that it becomes a health hazard for the residents of the area. Utter disregard to environment has placed Delhi in an offensive position of being the world’s third grubbiest, most polluted and unhealthy city as per the study conducted by World Health Organization. SC also emphasized that it is needless to say that every citizen has a right to fresh air and to live in pollution free environment.30

Further, pushing the quarry operators away from Delhi to Haryana was weighed down with danger. The SC in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. UOI31 recommended the State of Haryana to ensure that 2000 quarry workers received better health care, education and other facilities. Foreseeing the Stone Crushing Case, the SC observed that the quarries in question were near the industrial belt of Haryana and were not far away from Delhi. Ecology was not only the local problem but was also taken to be a problem of Delhi. The dust emission from the working area in Haryana was bound to affect adversely the atmosphere of Delhi also.

In my opinion, if adequate importance was to be given to the pollution emitted from the stone quarry, the industry itself had to be regulated or might have to be stopped. But the Haryana Govt. permitted the quarry operators to re-locate in new ‘crushing zones’ around Pall and Mohabatabad. On 20th Novemeber 1995, the SC directed a team of scientists and environmental engineers from the Central Pollution Control Board to inspect the new locations. The report submitted stated that the air pollution was intense, chiefly because the dust containment systems although installed were not being operated by any of the quarry operators. The mining operations were being conducted haphazardly and warned of an imminent ecological disaster. The quarry owners were granted two months time to install necessary pollution control devices and the State Govt. was asked to implement the directions and suggestions given by the Central pollution Control Board.32

In the case of M.C. Mehta v. UOI,33 a direction was sought u/A. 32 of the Constitution of India to Haryana Pollution Control Board for controlling the pollution caused by the stone crushers, pulverizes and mine operators. The main issue was that whether for the preservation of environment and control of pollution, mining operations should be stopped within the radius of 5 kms. from the tourist resorts of Badkal Lake and Surajkund in the State of Haryana. SC directed that there should be no mining activity within 2 km radius of the tourist resorts. No construction activity would be allowed within 5 km radius and even no renewal of the leases would be made within these areas without objection from the State Pollution Control Board.34

SC in ARC Cement Ltd. v. State of UP,35 did not permit a cement factory to run where mining operations vis-à-vis lime quarries stood stopped. The only direction given by the SC was to accommodate the petitioner factory at some other place.

In Tarun Bharat Sangh v. UOI,36 the SC was made aware of the fact that the State Govt. of Rajasthan was itself authorizing mining operations in Reserved Forest Area. SC gave directions that no mining operations of whatsoever nature shall be carried on within the protected and reserved forest. But in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Krishan Das Tikaram,37 the respondent firm was permitted to extract limestone in an area which was later on declared as a reserved forest. The State Govt. decided to renew the lease for 20 years without obtaining the prior approval of the Central Govt. This lease was cancelled and the cancellation was held valid by the SC. In Ishwar Singh v. State of Haryana38 the environmental damage caused by stone quarrying was highlighted by the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

In Mohammed Haroon Ansari v. District Collector, Ranga Reddy District39 SC held that there should be one km. safe distance from a stone quarry or crusher to a lake, water reservoir and residential locality and it directed the HC to modify its order of 2 kms. In the case of Kennedy Valley Welfare Association v. Ceylon Repartriates Labourers Welfare and Service Society & Others40 SC prohibited the stone crushing operations to operate close to and within 500 metres of the residential colonies. They might operate if license/permission was granted to operate within the safer zone and not within 500 meters of any residential area and also if they adopt pollution control measures recommended by the National Productivity Council, New Delhi. Such quarrying, however, could be allowed by the State only at such places and in such areas which did not in any manner endanger human life.

In Parthiban Blue Metal Etc. v. The Member Secy. T.N. Pollution Control Board and Others41 there were 9 quarrying units operating between 300 metres to 500 metres. The units were located at about 325 meters from Krishna Nagar against the limit of 500 meters from residential area. The contention of the petitioners was that now the limit had been reduced to 300 meters and, therefore, their unit was located within the permissible distance. It was further submitted that all the units were in adjoining sites and were beyond the distance of 300 meters from residential area. The respondent, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board was directed to verify the factual scenario and file an affidavit within four weeks. It appeared to SC that the factual situation was not examined in detail by the HC and so it remitted the matter back to the HC. It appeared that SC had no objection if the limit was reduced to 300 metres.

The Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum v. UOI,42 is a landmark decision recognizing ‘Sustainable Development’ as answer to balance development with ecology. In this case, it was alleged that tanneries were discharging their untreated effluents into the river Polar which was the main source of water for the residents of the North Arcot Ambedkar District area. The untreated effluents not only created a problem of drinking water but due to the highly toxic nature of the effluents, it rendered the land unfit for cultivation. The effluent from the tanneries changed the physio-chemical properties of the soil and contaminated the underground water by percolation and was held to be environmental pollution as the drinking water of the wells of the area also got polluted from it.

The SC became concerned regarding the condition of the area and directed the Central and State Govts. to constitute an authority u/s 3 (3) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and conferred all powers on the authorities to deal with the situation created by the tanneries and other polluting industries of Tamil Nadu. SC also declared that the authority so constituted should implement “the precautionary principle” and “the polluter pays principle”. The authority was also authorized to determine and award compensation and also to recover compensation for the loss to the ecology of the area and frame a scheme to overturn the degraded ecology of the area. The scheme framed by the authority should be implemented by the State Govt. under the supervision of the Central Govt. The SC also recommended to the Chief Justice of Tamil Nadu High Court to constitute a Green Bench to deal with environmental pollution cases.43

In this fight for protecting the environment and the ecology, the people living in the area were also made aware of the degradation of the environment. Consciousness of the people for environmental protection became intense. Even the United Nations Conference on Human Environment held from 5th June to 16th June, 1972 in Stockholm spread awareness about environment protection. It declared that to defend and improve human environment for present and future generations has become an imperative goal for mankind. It came out with 26 principles which are known as ‘Magna Carta’ on Human Environment. It declared that man has a fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life in an environment of quality…and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for the present and future generation.44

It was suggested that Govts. must evolve necessary laws to protect and improve the flora and fauna, non-renewable resources, wildlife and human health. Since, India was one of the signatories of the Stockholm Conference, it passed various statutes to improve and protect the environment.45 The SC of India also observed that UN Conference on Human Environment created awareness for the protection of the environment.46

Principle 6 of the Stockholm Declaration embodied the ‘assimilative capacity rule’ which assumed that science could provide policy-makers with the information and means necessary to avoid encroaching upon the capacity of the environment to assimilate impact. But in the 11th Principle of the UN General Assembly Resolution on World Charter for Nature, 1982 the emphasis shifted to the ‘precautionary principle’ and was reiterated in 15th Principle of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, also called the Rio de Janeiro ‘Earth Summit’, 1992, which declared that in order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach should be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. The precautionary principle involved the anticipation of environmental harm and taking measures to avoid it or to choose the least environmentally harmful activity.47

In the struggle to protect the environment, it was said that nature can never be managed unless the people closest to it are involved in its management. Even the people living in Nahi-Kala became so much aggressive that they took up direct non-violent resistance against limestone quarrying under the organization of the local activists of the Chipko Movement.48 The resistance took the form of obstruction to the movement of trucks to and from the quarrying site by the volunteers of the movement. Under the leadership of Shri Dhoom Singh Negi and encouragement of Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna, volunteers positioned themselves on the truck route and a camp was established on the bank of the stream called Sinsyaru Khala.

The villagers and the Chipko Movement activists started their non-violent resistance against ecologically destructive limestone quarrying on September 16, 1986, bringing a complete halt to the functioning of the quarry and the movement of the mineral. On March 15, 1987, the Chipko Movement against limestone quarrying celebrated six months of its struggle. Local Courts had served the peaceful satyagrahis with notices of arrest. Mr. C. G Gujral and his men have made many attempts to attack the protectors of nature’s resources. On 30th November, 1986 four trucks with 50 men armed with sticks attacked the satyagraha camp. But Chamandai ran down from the village, stood before the trucks, and told the men that the quarry would be operated only over her dead body. They dragged her for a few hundred feet, but finally had to run back, overcome by the power of her peaceful protest.49



To conclude, it is submitted that “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed”, said Mahatma Gandhi, which is true and evident as seen from the deterioration of the Doon Valley. The Govt. has enacted many laws to protect the environment from the effect of limestone quarries but nothing has been achieved till date. In 1986,50 SC on the basis of Bhargawa Committee report, ordered the closure of mines in category (d) and the quarries located in Sahastradhara block and in category (b). Further direction was given for the closure of the quarries in category (a) which were located within the municipal limits of Mussoorie. In another petition in 1987,51 SC directed all fresh quarries to be stopped and called upon the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, Dehra Dun to strictly enforce the order. But this has turned futile as implementation of the law is lacking.

In yet another petition in 2000,52 SC prohibited the stone crushing operations to operate close to and within 500 metres of the residential colonies and directed that they might operate if license/permission was granted within the safer zone and not within 500 meters of any residential area. Finally after analyzing the trend of the SC, in 2007 it appeared that SC had no objection if the limit was reduced from 500 metres to 300 metres.53

In the opinion of the researcher, it could be observed that during 1980’s SC has directed to close the quarries but reaching uptil 2007 SC has showed no objection even if the quarries operated within 300 metres to 500 metres of the residential areas. This has given way to quarry operators to operate in the Valley area. This reveals that the dormant SC orders are been by-passed. There is a need for activation and revival of the SC orders. Public involvement and co-operation is necessary in implementation of such directions.

It is suggested that SC should appoint a Committee to monitor its previous orders. Even though protection, preservation and promotion of environment are solely the duties of the legislative and executive organs of the State, it is the executive which has to play the major role in the protection and promotion of the environment. There is a double duty casted upon the police officers as citizens’ u/A.51-A (g) and as police officers u/A.48-A of the Constitution to protect the environment. They also have a duty to foresee that the orders of the SC are been implemented in the right manner. A balance should be maintained between preserving the natural beauty of the Valley and the socio-economic and technological development of the country. Limestone mining, if performed, should be under strict regulations and far off from the Valley as also directed by the Honourable Supreme Court.



[1] Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehra Dun v. State of UP and others, (1985) 2 SCC 431; (1985) 3 SCC 614; 1986 Supp SCC 517; 1987 Supp SCC 487; 1989 Supp (1) SCC 504; 1989 Supp (1) SCC 537.

[2] Graffito in France, 1968; “A Thought for Today”, The Times of India, 12th June, 2007, New Delhi, p.12.

[3] Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun v. State of UP, (1986) Supp SCC 517 at 521-522.

[4] Azad, S. A. K., “Deforestation, Environment and the Law”, AIR 2002 SCJ 139.

[5] Kumar, Raghvendra, “Environment, Legal and Juridical Scene”, AIR 2002 SCJ 223 at 224.

[6] Sethi, Nitin, “Sariska was just tip of iceberg, admits govt.”, The Times of India, New Delhi, 18th may, 2007, p.11;



Total forest area in sq. km.

Districts in which tiger has gone extinct (%)







Central India



Eastern Ghats



Western Ghats



[7] T. N. G. Thirumulkpad v. UOI, AIR 1997 SC 1228.

[8] The data is based on the field survey done by the researcher.

[9] Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehra Dun v. State of UP and others, (1985) 2 SCC 431.

[10] Based on the field survey done by the researcher with the assistance of RLEK.

[11] Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehra Dun v. State of UP and others, (1985) 2 SCC 431.

[12] (1987) Supp SCC 487.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun v. State of UP, 1986 (Supp) SCC 517 at 520.

[15] Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun v. State of UP, 1989 Supp (1) SCC 504 at 527.

[16] Ibid. at 535.

[17] Ibid. at 530.

[18] 1986 Supp SCC 517.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Chaturvedi, R.G. and Chaturvedi, M.M., “Law on Protection of Environment and Prevention of Pollution”, 1993, p.127.

[21] AIR 1993 HP 52.

[22] AIR 1987 SC 1073.

[23] AIR 1987 SC 1109.

[24] AIR 1988 HP 4.

[25] Singh, Gurdip, “Environmental Law in India”, 1st published, 2005, p.65.

[26] AIR 1999 Kar. 157.

[27] 1992 Supp (2) SCC 85.

[28] Ibid. at 87.

[29] 1992 (3) SCC 256.

[30] Id. at 257.

[31] 1991 (4) SCC 177.

[32] M.C. Mehta v. UOI, (Delhi Stone Crushing case), 1996 (1) SCALE 29.

[33] AIR 1996 SC 1977.

[34] Ibid.

[35] 1993 Suppl. (1) SCC 57.

[36] AIR 1992 SC 514.

[37] 1995 Suppl (1) SCC 587.

[38] AIR 1996 P & H 30.

[39] (2004) 1 SCC 491.

[40] 2000 (2) SCALE 143 (SC).

[41] MANU/SC/7060/2007.

[42] AIR 1996 SC 2715.

[43] Shastri, Satish C., “Environmental Law in India”, 2nd ed. 2005, p.105.

[44] Ibid. at XXIX-XXX.

[45] The various laws enacted by Indian Parliament are Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981; Biological Diversity Act, 2002; Cruelty Against Certain Animals Act, 1962; Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995; Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

[46] See Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra v. State of UP, 1986 Supp SCC 517; Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum v. UOI, (1996) 5 SCC 647; M. C. Mehta v. UOI, (1992) 1 SCC 358; M. C. Mehta v. Kamal Nath, (2000) 6 SCC 213.

[47] Supra n. 35, pp. 350-351.

[48] Guha, Ramachandra, “Environmentalism: A Global History”, 2000, pp. 115-119.

[49] Bandopadhyay, J. and Shiva, Vandana, “Chipko Movement against Limestone Quarrying in Doon Valley”, 5th March, 1987, Lokayan.

[50] Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun v. State of UP , 1986 (Supp) SCC 517.

[51] Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun v. State of UP, (1987) Supp SCC 487.

[52] Kennedy Valley Welfare Association v. Ceylon Repartriates Labourers Welfare and Service Society & Others, 2000 (2) SCALE 143 (SC).

[53] Parthiban Blue Metal Etc. v. The Member Secy. T.N. Pollution Control Board and Others, MANU/SC/7060/2007.



















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