Trace Your Case


MC Mehta v. Union of India, AIR 1997 SC 734 (Taj Trapezium Case)


  • Whether the Mathura Oil Refinery and other nearby industries pushed pollutants into the atmosphere that contained oxides of Sulphur and nitrogen which cause acid rain?
  • Whether Taj Mahal’s discoloration was caused by deposition of dust particles and carbonaceous particles such as black and brown carbon which is light absorbing organic carbon?


  • Polluter Pays Principle is applied after the environmental degradation has taken place. This principle mandates the person who has caused such an adverse environmental damage to pay for their actions. The polluter not only compensates the victims but also pays for the restoration of the environment.


  • The Taj Trapezium Zone was defined by an area of 10,400 sq. km around the Taj, also comprising of 40 protected monuments including the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.
  • M.C. Mehta filed this petition in court due to the escalating degradation of the Taj by traditional and contemporary socio-economic conditions.
  • The pollution was caused by the emission of coal/coke industries and other sources of pollution.
  • The Mathura refinery and other industries released a toxic chemical called ‘sulfur dioxide’ which, when combined with oxygen, caused acid rain creating a corroding effect on the white marble.
  • The petitioner sought the authorities to take appropriate actions to combat air pollution in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ).
  • The Court took cognizance of the matter in January 1993.


  • The court stated that the pollution caused by the emission of coal/coke industries is the sole and major reason for the damaging effect on the Taj and the ‘onus of proof is on the industry to show that its operation with the aid of coke/coal is environmentally benign.
  • Further, the court ordered the 292 industries to apply to GAIL before February 15, 1997, for a grant of industrial gas connection.
  • Moreover, other Industries which did not opt for other natural gases were ordered to apply to the Government regarding their relocation.
  • The court also laid down rights and benefits that the workmen working in these 292 industries were entitled to.
  • The workmen were given the benefit to continue their employment in the new town and salaries were to be paid with continuity of service.
  • All those workmen who agreed to shift with the industry were ordered to be given one year’s wages as a ‘shifting bonus’ to help them settle at the new location.