oppn parties The Right to Light in India is Vague

News Snippets

  • JNU students march against the steep hike in fees, keep HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal stuck at the venue of the convocation
  • USFDA says Cytotron, an anti-cancer kit developed by Bengaluru based Rajah Vijay Kumar, is a "breakthrough device" for treating liver, pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Car sales show a minuscule uptrend after declining continuously for 11 months
  • Industrial output contracts by 4.3% in September, the worst decline in 8 years
  • Centre defends abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, says the power under it was used by the President six times previously
  • Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with lung infection, put on ventilator
  • Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant quits as Union Minister
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the leaders of both Hindus and Muslims in Delhi on Sunday to ensure peace and harmony is maintained after the Ayodhya verdict
  • Tipu Jayanti passes off peacefully in Karnataka
  • 10 dead as Cyclone Bulbul leaves destruction in its wake in West Bengal
  • Shefali Verma breaks Sachin's 30-year old record by scoring an international fifty at 15 years and 285 days
  • Former Chief Election Commissioner T N Seshan dies at 87
  • India beat Bangladesh by 30 runs to win the 3rd T20 and clinch the series 2-1. Deepak Chahar becomes the first Indian to take a hat-trick in T20s and returns the best bowling figures of 6/7
  • Centre removes SPG cover of the Gandhis. However, they will still get Z-category security
  • CJI Ranjan Gogoi will have a meeting with UP chief secretary and DGP of the state in his chamber ahead of the verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute next week
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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.