The Shore Nuisances (Bombay and Kolaba) Act, 1853

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An Act no. 11 of the year 1853 i.e. ‘The Shore Nuisances (Bombay and Kolaba) Act, 1853’ was enacted in the British period and was short titled as such by the Bombay Short Titles Act, 1921 (Bom. Act no. 2 of 1921). The said Act was enacted on 15th July, 1853. The purpose for which the provisions of this Act brought into force, is to provide for removal of Nuisances and encroachments which were below the High-water mark in the Islands of Bombay (now Mumbai) and Kolaba.

It was found necessary and expedient and also in the interest of general public, to provide for such removal of nuisances, encroachments, etc. below high water mark in the said harbour, for safe navigation of the harbour of Bombay, as there is a large sea shore in the Island of Bombay and Kolaba. The Act is one of the earliest laws concerning with the water pollution and as such was the said was meant to regulate the waste materials discharged by the industries situated near or in the vicinity of the Coastal areas of Bombay and Kolaba.

The Act empowers the Collector of the Land Revenue, Bombay for giving notice to the effect that the obstruction, nuisance, etc. which are found below the high water mark in the Islands of Bombay to be removed. The said Collector can also require the removal of such nuisance or otherwise obstructions, etc. which are found on or about the shores of the said Islands. The procedure for supplying such notice was to be complied by such Collector by affixing the same onteh conspicuous place near such nuisance, obstruction, etc. and also the contents thereof should be notified in the Official Gazette. The Notice should also specify that if such removal is not made with the period of 1 month therefrom, the Collector will remove the same. The Schedule annexed with the Act provides for specimen of the Notice in the Form No. 1, however, it is not mandatory that the notice to contain the same form, it is sufficient if it is made in the like manner.

The persons feeling aggrieved by the aforesaid notice or if they deny right of such Collector to such removal, then such persons can approach to the Court within a months period from the date of such notice. Such persons’ petition should state their right against such removal. The Court, thereupon will be empowered to determine dispute and in result it can issue several directions. In such proceedings, the Petitioners therein should be responsible for proving the alleged right to be protected against such removal.

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Section 5 of the Act assume importance as and when the persons affecting by the Notice of such Collector not file any such aforementioned petition before Court, or even if such petition was filed, but to no effect in favour of Petitioners. The Collector in such situations, can issue warrant under his hand for removing such obstructions, nuisance or encroachments, etc. or abatement thereof by the authorized persons. The said Warrant is required to be issued in the like manner of Form No. 2 provided under Schedule annexed with this Act. The Collector herein is given immunity against any damage which was unavoidable caused while removing such nuisance or otherwise as aforementioned.

On such removal, the Collector is further, invested with the power relating to selling of materials which was taken under custody while removing encroachment or obstructions under this Act. And any expenses which were incurred for removing such encroachments or obstructions can be adjusted by the Collector from such proceeds which was accrued from such sale. And the remaining money should be forfeited to the Government in the prescribed manner provided by the Central Government. The Government of concerned part of the said harbour or of sea shore concerned, are protected against the provisions of this Act and also against any civil or criminal liability.

By the Act no. 22 of the year 1855, the provisions in this Act relating to the removal of obstructions, etc. which was likely to affect the navigation of the Port of Bombay, were repealed.

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Similarly, the present Act was recommended for repeal in toto by the 20th Law commission in its second interim report (vide its no. 249). The Commission specified that the management of hazardous waste materials now carried out under various Rules framed under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. The example of such rules includes, the Hazardous Waste Management Rules, etc. As such the purpose of the present Act was taken over by these enactments which were latterly provided. Similarly, no evidence as to use of this Act could be found now a days. The enactment was also suggested by the P. C. Jain’s Commission for its repeal but was remained in force.