The Kerala High Court observed that the Municipality has the primary duty to deal with the municipal waste even though the same has been illegally dumped in private property.

A person had filed a writ petition before the court who was aggrieved by the fact that a substantial amount of waste was dumped in a plot of land belonging to the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd. on the northern side of the NGO Quarters-Mavelipuram Road. He submitted that the said parcel of land was part of the land allotted to the Kochi Metro for the purposes of expansion of the metro to the Kakkanad area.

A Single Bench of Justice Gopinath P. held, “It is the primary duty of the Municipality to deal with municipal waste. The fact that such municipal waste has been illegally dumped in private property (here the property of the Kochi Metro) cannot absolve the Municipality from the liability of removing the waste for proper treatment as is done in the case of other municipal waste being collected and processed by the Municipality.”

Advocate M.T. Sureshkumar appeared for the petitioner while SC S. Jamal appeared for the respondents.

The counsel for the Kochi Metro submitted that the Kochi Metro had attempted to fence the said land to prevent the dumping of waste. It was further submitted that the same was obstructed by the local residents including the petitioner and that the Kochi Metro was ready and willing to fence the land or construct a compound wall immediately. On the other hand, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the accumulated waste must be removed. While the counsel for the Municipality submitted that the Municipality has no responsibility to remove the waste, as it is waste dumped in the property of the Kochi Metro.

The High Court in the above context said that it does not consider that the submission of the counsel for the Municipality is the correct legal position in law. In this light, the Court directed –

“The 3rd respondent shall take immediate steps to either fence or construct a compound wall around the property in question to prevent illegal dumping of waste. This may be done by the Kochi Metro ignoring Ext.R3(b). If any obstruction is caused by any person, it will be open to the Kochi Metro to seek appropriate assistance from the Inspector of Police having jurisdiction over the area.”

Furthermore, the Court directed that the Kochi Metro shall engage necessary men and machinery to remove the accumulated waste to a site suggested by the Thrikkakara Municipality at its cost (cost of Kochi Metro).

“The Thrikkakara Municipality shall accept the accumulated waste without segregation and shall deal with the same as is done in the case of other municipal waste collected by the Thrikkakara Municipality”, it added.

The Court also ordered that the steps to remove the waste as directed above shall be completed within one month and that the Municipality shall also give suitable instructions regarding the site to which the waste has to be removed to enable the Kochi Metro to remove the waste within the time specified.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the petition and issued necessary directions.

Cause Title- Mohammed Manath Ibrahim v. Thrikkakara Municipality represented by its Secretary & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024:KER:2960)


Petitioner: Advocates Manjusha K, Reswin A. Khadir, and Sreelakshmi Sabu.

Respondents: SC M.U. Vijayalakshmi, SR K. Jaju Babu, and GP Devishri.

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