oppn parties The Right to Light in India is Vague

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  • Former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar proposes an Indo-Pak ODI series to raise funds for fighting coronavirus
  • Maharashtra government says many Tablighi Jamaat members who attended the Markaz and returned have gone into hiding
  • West Bengal government identifies hotspots in Kolkata and the rest of the state, inclined to extend the lockdown in those places only
  • Prime Minister Modi holds a video conference with floor leaders of opposition parties, hints at extending the lockdown
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  • ICMR says an infected person can infect 406 people in 30 days without social distancing and lockdown
  • Stock markets make a smart recovery. Sensex up by record 2476 points on global cues
  • Schools, colleges and shopping malls likely to remain closed for a further period of one month, says empowered group of ministers
  • PM Modi tells BJP workers that India is in for a long battle against the coronavirus and there is no scope to feel tired or defeated
  • PM Modi asks ministers to focus on exports and new areas and sectors
  • PM Modi asks ministers to prepare business continuity plan post the lifting of the lockdown
  • Corona cases in India cross 4000 and the death toll stands at 124
  • The government decides to double the testing of corona suspects from 10000 now to 20000 in the next three days
  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19: 773 new cases and 32 deaths in the last 24 hours, reports the health ministry
oppn parties
The Right to Light in India is Vague

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2015-09-22 13:10:17

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.