INDIA Shah Rukh Khan accused of violating pollution laws

Khan did not cooperate with authorities

By S. Narendra, Correspondent
May 7, 2012

Mumbai Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan faces an allegation of violating the law by not cooperating with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) authorities in conducting an inspection at his residence in Mumbai for alleged violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Rules.

Former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer-turned-lawyer Y.P. Singh, who represents social activist Amit Maru, has alleged that the actor has violated section 10 (3) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, which states a person delaying or obstructing a government official from performing his duty is guilty of an offence under the Act.

On the basis of a complaint lodged by Maru alleging violation of rules indulged in by Khan in the construction of his luxurious seven-storey residence, Mannat, at Bandra in north-west Mumbai, Valsa Nair Singh, chairwoman of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority, ordered MPCB to conduct a detailed inquiry.

Through her letter dated October 5, 2011, Nair directed the MPCB to verify if the actor had indulged in any violation of the CRZ rules.

Using the powers vested with them under section 10 (1) (b) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, MPCB officials entered Mannat and conducted an inspection on November 30, 2011.

"Despite the stipulations under section 10 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, Shah Rukh Khan and his architect did not provide the requisite documents. As a result, the inquiry inspection got derailed," Singh stated.

The MPCB's inspection report, a copy of which was obtained by Maru from the authorities concerned, stated among other things: "… the effluent generated from these occupants [the actor's family and 25 staff members staying at Mannat] is directly connected to MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) drainage system .. Since the film star Shah Rukh Khan and his architect have not furnished the documents, it is not possible to comment on the distance from high tide line and towards landward side of Arabian Sea. However, prima facie the said property comes in CRZ".

Singh surprised

In his statement, Singh said: "In this way, by not providing the required documents, Shah Rukh Khan and his architect are guilty of the violation of section 10 (2) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 … Shah Rukh, who claims to be law-abiding and who claims to follow the law, should not have defied the government authorities."

Singh also expressed surprise that "the government authorities also did not use their coercive powers and did not use force, even though they had powers under section 10 of the Environment Protection Act to do so".

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