Trace Your Case


Intellectuals Forum v. State of A.P., (2006) 3 SCC 549


  • Whether the Urban Development Authority could be given primacy over the need protect environment?
  • Whether the need of principle of sustainable development can be ignored over and above the Urban Development?
  • Whether there is a conflict of public interest?
  • Whether the action of Arunachal Pradesh Government intaking the impugned decisions is permissible under the light of Article 21 of Indian Constitution?


  • The Principle of Sustainable Development, enunciated in the Stockholm Convention is the notion that development and the environment should not be a ‘chalk-and-cheese’ matter, but must go hand in hand with each other, portraying a balance between urban development and environmental conservation and protection.
  • The three main remnants of the Public Trust Doctrine are that the property must be available for use by the general public, it must not be sold even for a fair equivalent of money and it should be maintained for particular uses. The Doctrine emphasises on the importance of the management of resources and the environment.
  • Keeping in mind the importance of preserving and protecting natural resources for future generations as well, the principle of Inter-generational equity sets a base for man to bear the responsibility of protecting and improving the environment and safeguarding it through appropriate management.
  • Articles 48-A and 51A of the Constitution holds the State and citizens respectively accountable for protecting and safeguarding the natural resources, which are pivotal to the governance in the country.


  • The appellants in this case complained about the systematic destruction of two percolation, irrigation and drinking water tanks in their town, namely the Avilala Tank and the Peruru Tank, which were alienated to two different authorities. The instant case involved preservation and restoration of these tanks, which were historical in nature as well.
  • The grievances raised by the Appellants was in subject matter of alienation of these tanks by the government in favour of some Governmental agencies for the construction of houses.
  • The aggrieved Appellants filed two writ petitions before the High Court, which were subsequentially dismissed, and it was submitted that the High Court had given precedence to economic growth by ignoring the importance and urgency of protecting the environment.


  • The Apex Court held that since migration from rural to urban areas is common for obvious reasons, it is unable to prevent the said Government from going ahead with urban development in the town in question since that is for the welfare of the people.
  • However, the importance and urgency of the matter of the tanks, which is a public and community property was noted, and the Court held that the government cannot be permitted to commit any act(s) against the rights of the community, and no tube-wells or bore-wells were allowed in the said area.
  • The Court gave out guidelines to be followed by the government and other authorities in order to restore and improve the environmental conditions, with the motive being a balance between the right to shelter and the critical need to protect the environment.