The Madras High Court in the case Periyakaruppan v. The Principle Secretary to Government and Another observed in order to preserve and conserve with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person the Court declared “Mother Nature” as a “Living Being” having a legal entity/ legal person / juristic person / juridical person / moral person / artificial person having the status of a legal person and invoked the “parens patriae jurisdiction”.
The court therefore, modified the order of compulsory retirement as stoppage of increment for six months without cumulative effect. since the land in question was classified as “Forest Land” necessary intervention was needed, the court opined that though the punishment of co-delinquent were quashed or dropped and the entries were also modified and pattas cancelled.
The petitioner after attaining the age of superannuation, the petitioner was not permitted to retire and was placed under suspension citing the pendency of disciplinary proceedings against him, for past 35 years The petitioner served in the Revenue Department and then and served as Distillery Officer in the cadre of Deputy Collector in the Rajashree Sugars and Chemicals Private Limited, Varadaraj Nagar, Periyakulam Taluk, Theni District.
In the plea the petitioner contended that though such a harsh punishment is imposed on the petitioner, the Director of Survey and Settlement, Chennai, who is the Head of the Department, treated the land in question as Ryoti, and the Assistant Settlement Officer, Madurai has been left scot-free, The petitioner further stated that the punishments was imposed on the petitioner for carrying out the orders of the Assistant Settlement Officer, Madurai, dated 24.07.1996 directing the petitioner to grant patta to an extent of 2873.03 hectares in Plot No. 36 i.e., S.No.280 part of Megamalai Village under Section 11 A of the Tamil Nadu Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948.
The order of the Settlement Officer, Thanjavur, and as per the directions of the District Collector, Madurai, the Patta granted was cancelled and necessary entries were made in the Village accounts, being further stated by the petitioner It is further contented by the petitioner about the punishment imposed on him was harsh and prayed for quashing the same.
The respondents submitted that other officials involved in granting Patta also faced disciplinary proceedings. But some of the proceedings were quashed by the High Court, and some of the proceedings were upheld by the High Court. It was further submitted that the petitioner could not claim to treat on par with them since in each case there is some difference. Further the respondents contended a Taluk Tahsildar, the petitioner, being the custodian of Government lands, should not have acted to implement the orders of the Assistant Settlement Officer as it is not according to law and should not have allotted Government lands to private persons.
the Government ordered that the petitioner shall be eligible for only 2/3rd of the pension and DCRG. The 1/3rd of the eligible pension and the retirement gratuity were reduced as a penalty the Government punished the petitioner by imposing compulsory retirement, and by GO dated 17.08.2012.
The bench Comprising of Madurai of Justice S. Srimathy, the court directed the State Government and the Central Government to take appropriate steps to protect the mother earth in all possible ways, that nature shall have fundamental rights/ legal rights and constitutional rights for its survival, safety and sustenance, and resurgence in order to maintain its status and also to promote its health and wellbeing.