oppn parties The Right to Light in India is Vague

News Snippets

  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
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The Right to Light in India is Vague

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Have you ever thought how a building comes up right beside yours, blocking your light and air? This is because in India, as in most other countries in the world, we do not have a specific right to light and air law. These matters are governed by the Indian Easements Act and British and Indian jurisprudence. Since it is very difficult to prove in court the exact quantum of light or air that will diminish as a result of the new construction â€" and also that this diminished light and air will make living in the old building uncomfortable â€" it is very difficult to stop such constructions in India.

The Kolkata High Court recently refused to grant an injunction to stop the construction of a high-rise coming up close to an old building. The petitioner had prayed for an injunction on the grounds that since it was enjoying unobstructed light and air for more than 20 years, as per the Indian Easements Act, it was entitled to continued enjoyment of the same without obstruction, which the new construction would restrict. The Court refused the injunction stating that the benefit accruing to the petitioner would be much less than the loss accruing to the defendant if the construction was stopped at this stage.

In taking this decision, the court was mainly guided by the fact that the petitioner was unable to prove decisively how and by what quantum the light would diminish. The report of the expert it submitted was found deficient by the Court since the expert did not conduct field experiments or tests. The Court considered it an expert opinion that should be subject to cross examination. The Court also found that only one side of the old building would get diminished light and it was not proved that such diminished light would make living uncomfortable. The Court also found that the petitioner had unnecessarily delayed filing for injunction and had allowed the construction of the new building to advance to a stage where granting injunction now would be unfair.

The Court left these matters for the trial court to judge, while citing that it was left to judicial discretion whether to grant injunction or not. The case has all the ingredients to make a path breaking and it is hoped that it reaches the highest court of the land for some clarity on the issue. The issue is still being debated all over the world. In the UK, from where our law has devolved, the Law Commission is studying the need to have a separate right to light act. In the US a Florida judge had categorically said that “there is no legal right to air and sunlight”, while in Denmark the law clearly specifies the amount of light that should always be available to apartments in buildings. While it is too early to say whether this case will also make Indian lawmakers to think of having such a law, it seems that it will definitely raise a debate on the issue.