People have right to use natural resources: SC

Natural resources are for uninterrupted and unhindered use of the general public and even the State cannot deprive them of their natural rights,the Supreme Court has held.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published:January 22, 2009 7:38 pm

Natural resources like beaches,forests,rivers and other water bodies are for uninterrupted and unhindered use of the general public and even the State cannot deprive them of their natural rights,the Supreme Court has held.

Such rights are governed by the “public trust doctrine” and people can move the courts for enforcing the rights,the apex court said,while directing a hotel resort in Goa to demolish its unauthorised construction on Vainguinim Beach,which had been overlooked by the state government.

“Natural resources including forests,water bodies,rivers,sea shores etc are held by the State as a trustee on behalf of people and especially the future generation. They constitute common properties and people are entitled to uninterrupted use thereof.

“The State cannot transfer public trust properties to a private party,if such a transfer interferes with the right of the public the court can invoke the public trust doctrine and take affirmative action for protecting the rights of the people to have access to light,air and water and also for protecting rivers,sea,tanks,trees forest and associated natural eco-system,” a bench of Justices B N Aggrawal and G S Singhvi observed in a judgement.

In the instant case,Fomento Resorts and Hotels Ltd had extended the construction of its hotel resort encroaching upon a public road and parking place which was a natural access to people visiting the beach.

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