Updated: Mar 25, 2022
TAJ TRAPEZIUM CASE M. C. Mehta v Union of India AIR 1997 SC 734
ISSUES AIR POLLUTION
Activist-lawyer M. C. Mehta fought a long and arduous battle over the pollution caused by industries in the vicinity of the famous Taj Mahal in Agra, which were causing damage to the famous monument, especially from the Mathura reﬁnery. Mehta moved the Supreme Court in 1984, claiming that the Sulphur dioxide released by the Mathura reﬁnery combined with oxygen and moisture in the air to produce sulphuric acid in the atmosphere, which was corroding the white marble of the Taj Mahal.
The petitioner also claimed that brick kilns, vehicular traﬃc and generator sets were also responsible for polluting the ambient air around the Taj, and that the white marble had yellowed and blackened in places. There were ugly brown and black spots at some places in the monument, Mehta also alleged. In his ruling, Justice Kuldip Singh observed that the Taj was not only a cultural heritage, but was an industry by itself since over two million tourists visit every year. It is a source of revenue for the country. The apex court created a Taj Trapezium,' which consists of 10,400 square kilometers of area roughly in the shape of a trapezium around the Taj. This was done to regulate the activities in the region so that pollution could be controlled. Industries were asked to shift to eco-friendly fuel and reduce the use of diesels generators.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh was asked to improve power supply to the city so that the use of diesel generators could be reduced. Tanneries operating from Agra were asked to shift from the trapezium, The Central Pollution Control Boards and the UP Pollution Control Board were asked to monitor the quality of air and report the same to the court. The apex court also asked the government to take steps to undo the damage to the environment and the white marbles at Taj and to undertake cleaning up operations.