The famous proverb “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away” is very much applicable on business entities with little bit of changes “Compliance on time, keeps penalties away”. In fact, not only penalties but also the long, tedious and never-ending process of litigation and the cost that comes with it. Last but not the least, the goodwill of the organisation is at stake which is earned over a long period.
Now let’s take an overview of some judgments and orders by Indian Judiciary which has proved quite pricey for non-complaint entities in 2019:
- In a case where a writ petition was filed by a management institution against the denial of permission for increasing number of seats by AICTE. The institution had simultaneously admitted students beyond the sanctioned number of seats violating the norms of AICTE. AICTE imposed a penalty of Rs. 23,10,00,000. The admission in excess was not set aside as that action would be too harsh upon the students. As the institution had already deposited Rs. 4,00,00,000, the Court directed to deposit the remaining Rs. 19,10,00,000 with the AICTE within 8 weeks from the date of judgement failing which AICTE would have the liberty to take appropriate action as per the law.
- In one case, the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court issued directions based on the principle that the law relating to noise pollution needs to be strictly complied for larger public interest. Whoever fails to comply with or contravenes any of the provisions of Noise Pollution Rules shall be liable for a penalty in terms of section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Non-compliance of the rules attracts the imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and fine which may extend to Rs. 1,00,000.
- In a case of sexual harassment at workplace (Hospital), it was observed that the existence of the Internal Complaints Committee was doubtful at the time of occurrence of the offence. The existence of the committee appeared to be a paper formality not in existence at the Hospital. A direction was issued for initiating criminal proceeding against the accused and it was further directed to pay a compensation of Rs. 25,00,000 for the pain and suffering, loss of reputation, emotional distress and loss of salary of 18 months for no fault of victim on her part resulting into deprivation of right to live with dignity. The Hospital was also directed to pay penalty of Rs. 50,000 in terms of Section 26 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 due to non-existence of Internal Complaints Committee at the relevant point of time.
- In one case, the construction company was granted environment clearance by State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority for development of the project not in conformity with the notification of Ministry of Environment and Forest, dated September 14, 2006. The housing project was proposed for the ‘Punjab MLA Society’ for construction of residential houses of MLAs of Punjab Legislature. The impugned environment clearance dated September 17, 2013 has also suffered from legal malafides, and it amounts to colourable exercise of power since about 95 MLAs of the State of Punjab are the beneficiaries of the proposed project. The entire exercise of obtaining clearance relating to the project was quashed.
- In one case, it was held that unregulated drawl of ground water cannot be held to be right of any commercial entity. Shortage of availability of water for commercial purposes cannot be remedied by drawl of groundwater. It is for the industry and the concerned authorities to find out alternative ways and means for its sustenance instead of permitting indiscriminate drawl of groundwater in such areas. If industries continue to draw ground water without NOC, they will have to face legal consequence of such illegal action.
 W.P. (Civil) No. 581 of 2016, Judgement Dated: June 21, 2019 – Hon’ble Supreme Court of India
 W.P.C No. – 1216 of 2019, Dated: August 20, 2019 – Hon’ble Allahabad High Court
 W.P.No.22314 and 22317 of 2017, dated September 16, 2019 – Hon’ble High Court of Madhya Pradesh Bench at Indore
 Criminal Appeal No. 1371 of 2019, dated September 11, 2019 – Hon’ble Supreme Court of India
 I.A. No. 640/2019 in O.A. No. 176/2015, dated October 10, 2019 – Hon’ble National Green Tribunal Principal Bench, New Delhi
By- Sonia S Chandran, B.A.LLB., LLM.