The 'Case Analysis: Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra & Ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (1985)' exemplifies a balanced approach considering economic progress and environmental protection.

The 'Case Analysis: Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra & Ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (1985)' exemplifies a balanced approach considering economic progress and environmental protection.

Case Title: Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra & Ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors.

Court: Supreme Court of India

Citation: 1985 AIR 652

Judges: P.N. Bhagwati (J), Amarendra Nath Sen (J), Rangnath Misra (J)

Decided on: 12/03/1985


The case is about limestone mining at Dehradun, which has threatened the lives of residents and may have done severe harm to the ecosystem. Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra lodged a writ case in the Supreme Court against the unlawful and illegal extraction of limestone in India’s Mussoorie Hill range. It was stated that the process of extraction of minerals such as limestone through mines had caused a disturbance in the ecology that, if sustained, could potentially pose a health hazard and that it had damaged ongoing water springs.

In addition to the development of modern machinery, metal and coal production has moved to steep locations where it was previously impossible. Geologists and miners are now interested in every aspect of the land. It is important to note that mining for minerals, if not done safely, can result in landslides and the release of dangerous materials. The extraction of metal is accomplished by exploding the hill with explosives. This resulted in the collapse of material deep within the hill, which is considered an illegal practice under the Mines Act of 1952. To make life sustainable, a balance between economic activity and the ecological must be restored; otherwise, disastrous catastrophes may occur.

In the course of the pendency of this writ petition, the Bhargav committee was established to examine the aforementioned limestone mining. In addition, the authorities have formed a task force on the extraction of limestone quarries. On March 12, 1985, the Court issued an order giving numerous instructions and noting that the grounds for the decision would be outlined in the subsequent judgment.

In its decision, the Supreme Court implemented the idea of sustainable development by offering employment to unemployed workers and, taking in mind the hardship of mining lessors, allowing them to remove previously extracted material.

Facts of the Case

1. Doon Valley is part of the Mussoorie Himalayan hill group. The Doon Valley was rich in resources. Many rivers flow from the Mussoorie hills, concluding the natural blooming of the lowland region. However, it became an area for limestone mining in the 1950s, and the valley started sinking as a consequence of the use of explosives, tree chopping, and heavy mining.

2. The Doon Valley’s limestone extraction techniques were more widespread between 1955 to 1965—the use of explosion to extract minerals led to a paucity of flora within the valley. By the beginning of the 1980s, mudslides, flooding, water shortages, excessive heat, and agricultural devastation had deprived the valley of its stunning natural beauty.

3. In 1961, the UP State Department of Mines declared mining illegal. However, quarrying restarted after the state government awarded various mining licenses for twenty years in 1962. Although rehabilitation contracts were offered in 1982, the state prohibited them owing to ecological damage. Mining companies have asked the Supreme Court to reverse the decision made by the government. The Allahabad High Court ruled in favour of extraction in the Doon Valley, putting economic advantage ahead of concerns about the environment.

4. In 1983, the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), a local Dehradun NGO, lodged a letter of protest to the Supreme Court of India on the nation’s ecological destitution. The complaint in question was filed as a writ petition according to Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. All current mining activities in the valley must be examined, according to the Supreme Court. The court additionally asked the state’s government to create a website for agriculture in the region.

Legal Provisions

Constitution of India, 1950: This case includes Article 32 of the Indian constitution which provides an entitlement to constitutional remedies. It gives citizens the ability to petition the Supreme Court for the implementation of their fundamental rights. The article in question is considered a fundamental right in and of itself, as it protects individual liberty.

The Forest Conservation, Act, 1980: This particular case involves Section 6 of the said act of 1980 which gives the government at the central level the authority to issue permission for the diversion of forest land for other uses under specified conditions, highlighting the necessity of maintaining the forest’s resources.

The Mines, Act, 1952: It is a work of legislation that exists in India which governs mining labours and their safety. It covers provisions concerning miners’ safety, health, welfare as a whole and working circumstances, intending to minimize accidents and guarantee the well-being of mining personnel.

Constitution of India, 1950: Article 21 of the said statute is treated as a fundamental right which has a broad meaning to embrace numerous facets of a person’s life and is critical to the safeguarding of individual liberties.

Issue Raised

Below mentioned are the particular issues raised in the following case law:

  • Whether the mining in Dehradun Valley a violation of the Forest Conservation Act of 1980?
  • Is it possible that the mining process caused landslides, flora loss, and irreparable ecological damage?
  • Whether mining indeed harm natural water springs?
  • Whether the contract of lease signed under the law?

Arguments from Both the Sides


1. The petitioner contended that mining operations had harmed the perennial source of water.

2. The petitioner added that if the limestone deposits are damaged, it will operate like an aquifer, causing an environmental imbalance and endangering the people's lives.

3. The petitioner claimed that mining operations had been carried in with no due care and prudence. Carelessness on the part of respondents has ended up resulting in landslides, the destruction of vegetation, and the destruction of many lives.

4. The petitioner raised the concern that ecological damage in Doon Valley might hinder regional inhabitants’ capacity to live their lives, encroaching on their fundamental right to a healthy ecosystem. As part of the right to life, Article 21 of the Constitutional provisions contains the right to a healthy environment.

5. The leases issued by the states were not legal and were tainted with corruption and favours.

6. The petitioner contended that because forests are on a concurrent list, federal government approval should be required for mining operations.


1. The Respondent argued that the writ petition must be rejected because it was frivolous, as well as that entire investigative jurisdiction should be delegated to administrative officials under the Environmental Protection Act.

2. The Respondent additionally claimed that the authority to judge whether the procedures could harm the environment belongs entirely to the government and not the courts.

3. The Respondent contended that rejecting further leases would result in catastrophic economic damage for the lessor because the majority of material needed to make the activities viable had yet to be recovered.

4. The Respondent has taken every precaution and measure to avoid any adversity and has also applied for a lease to extend the lease time. Withdrawal of this lease at this point would result in many significant job losses.

5. Respondents claimed that the Mines Act of 1952 mandated the elimination of all quarrying and mining techniques.

6. Mining procedures shouldn’t be discontinued since they are critical to the country’s affairs and ensure the safety of the country’s foreign exchange balance.

7. Mine closures will result in the layoff of mine workers.


In this case, following a thorough report of the Bhargava committee established by the court and a team of experts led by that particular person Bhargava for mining area inspection the Supreme Court ruled that quarrying in Dehradun Valley forests reserved breached the Forest Conservation Act. The particular Act specifically restricted non-forest activities in areas of forest that lacked Central Government authority. Furthermore, in terms of the integrity of the environment and national advantages, the Supreme Court was concerned with the welfare of mining workers and labourers who had gone left unpaid as a result of the Dehradun Valley operations. The courts are crucial in determining the limits of authorities and provisions in finalized agreements, and also whether development and the environment are consistent.

In this case, the Supreme Court delivered the following decision:

1. According to the judge’s instructions, mine lessees whose business activities had been suspended by the court would be given priority for leases in recently established limestone mining districts.

2. Orders that the central department of Environment’s Eco-Task Force recover and re-establish the mining-damaged region and that employees impacted by mine closure be given priority for employment within the Eco-Task Force’s operations and services.


Article 21 of the Indian Constitution provides the right to an environment that is healthy a basic right. Industrialization causes evolution, which in turn causes environmental degradation. Over time, the philosophy of sustainable development has evolved to emphasize the importance of maintaining an equilibrium between development and sustainability. Under the guise of national advantage, it is not appropriate to violate the environment.

Administrative and legislative policies for adequate environmental and developmental concepts should be outlined following the nation’s socioeconomic aspirations. Courts have a critical role in directing the scope of administrative authorities and motivations, as well as in maintaining a visible equilibrium between the environment and evolution.

The need of the time is to establish a balance between the two. As a result, evolution on the one hand and a pollution-free ecosystem on the other hand. The primary focus must be on the development of environmentally conscious living and ecological standards. However, sustainable development is the sole means, and administrative actions must be implemented accordingly.

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Laiba Tahreem

Laiba Tahreem

A final year humanities student of Jamia Hamdard University, New Delhi

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