Time to amend Goondas Act to include biomedical waste violators in TN: Madras HC

The vehicle driver was caught red-handed by the health inspector when the driver tried to dump the wastes in Kuruvankottai village in Alangulam-Tirunelveli Road.

Published: 19th November 2023 09:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2023 09:28 AM   |  A+A-

Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court

Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. (File photo)

By Express News Service

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court observed that it is the right time for the state government to bring an amendment to the Act 14 of 1982 (commonly referred to as Goondas Act) to book violators of Bio-medical Waste Management (BMWM) Rules under the Act.

Justice KK Ramakrishnan made the observation on a revision petition filed by Alangulam police in Tenkasi against an order passed by Alangulam judicial magistrate for the interim release of a vehicle which illegally transported biomedical waste from Kerala to be dumped in Tenkasi in May this year.

The vehicle driver was caught red-handed by the health inspector when the driver tried to dump the wastes in Kuruvankottai village in Alangulam-Tirunelveli Road. With the help of the villagers, he handed over the vehicle to the Alangulam police who registered a case and seized the vehicle. But the magistrate ordered interim release of the vehicle by imposing certain conditions.

But Justice Ramakrishnan observed that the magistrate’s order was “erroneous” and set aside the order. He pointed out that the BMWM rules specifically prohibit transportation of the bio-medical waste beyond 75 km from the hospitals. The vehicle owner seriously violated the rule and transported the bio-medical waste with knowledge that it would cause hazards to the public and the environment, he opined.

This act should not be encouraged by releasing the vehicle involved as the violator not only acted contrary to the BMWM rules but also against the injunction order passed by the division bench of the high court in a 2018 case that the state should not allow transportation of biomedical waste from Kerala to TN at any checkpost, the judge said.

He also recalled a Supreme Court judgment, which reminded the duty of the high courts to control the degradation of the environment and to ensure the proper implementation of the environmental laws. Noting that the Advocate General of TN has given a positive opinion to the government’s proposal to bring the violators of BMWM rules under the definition of ‘Goonda’ under the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Forest-offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic offenders, Slum-grabbers and Video Pirates Act, 1982 (Act 14 of 1982), Justice Ramakrishnan said the government is expected to take necessary steps to amend the Act to suitably deal with the persons transporting the medical waste from Kerala to TN.

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