Public Trust Doctrine Essay

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PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE: The doctrine of public trust was developed by the ancient Roman empire. The doctrine primarily rests on the principle of certain natural resources like air, sea, waters being of prime importance to people and hence cannot be made subject of private ownership. They are natural gifts and thus should be freely available to everyone irrespective of their financial, social, political status. It puts an obligation upon government to protect the resources for the purpose of impartial and unbiased enjoyment of the general public rather than to permit it for private ownership or personal purposes. Public Trust Doctrine serves two purposes. It mandates affirmative action for effective management of resources and empowers citizens…show more content…
Indian courts have thus applied it in various cases. Also Article 48 A and 51A of Indian Constitution support this jurisprudence. The state has a duty to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the forests and wildlife under Article 48A. This doctrine flows straight from right to life (Article 21 ) of Constitution of India. Earlier the application of this doctrine in Indian judgments was not that express however was implicit. However now Supreme Court has discussed it at length and has given this doctrine to environmental jurisprudence in case of M.C. Mehta v. Kamal Nath . Though traditionally its application was limited to protection of access to the common public benefit but now it has been applied even to prevent over exploitation of environmental and natural…show more content…
Builder v. Rahde Shyam Sahu , the Supreme Court has again applied public trust doctrine. The Lucknow Municipal Corporation granted permission to a builder to construct an underground shopping complex which happened to be against municipal act and master plan of the city. As per the agreement, the builder had full freedom to lease out the shops to the people of his own choice but on the behalf of Mahapalika. He could also enter contracts for the same purpose. The terms of agreement were clear between parties, however when it came before the court, court rejected the order and agreement and ordered Mahapalika to restore the place back to its original position. It rejected the argument of Municipality supporting the construction to reduce congestion by saying that it will make the place more congested. Supreme Court also held thee agreements as unreasonable and atrocious. Also the agreement was found to be contrary to public interest and public policy. Also it added that handling over the land of such value for construction was in gross violation of public interest doctrine. Its historic importance and environmental necessity were itself public purpose and the construction hence prejudicial to this public purpose. CONCLUSION: The public trust doctrine primarily was constructed to give protection to various natural resources like air, water and land. It works on a premise that they are important to the public generally and thus should not be made subject to private ownership
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