(OLEUM GAS LEAK CASE)
M.C. Mehta v. Union of India is a famous tort law Indian case that brought in the concept of “Absolute Liability”. Every citizen has a right to fresh air and to live in a pollution free environment. This originated when Oleum gas leaked from Shriram Food and Fertilizers Industry in Delhi. This created a lot of panic among the people and laid down the principles of absolute liability.
Shriram Food and Fertilizers Industry, a subsidiary company of Delhi Cloth Mills Ltd. was engaged in the manufacture of dangerous chemicals like caustic soda, chlorine, hydrochloric acid, stable bleaching powder, etc. On Dec 4th 1985, a large part of petroleum gas leaked from one of the units of the Industry in Delhi. The leakage was a result of mechanical and human errors. Due to leakage, the tank containing Oleum gas burst and the whole structure collapsed which resulted into several deaths and injuries. The whole accident created a panic among the people residing in that …show more content…
The question as to what is the measure of liability of an enterprise engaged in dangerous and hazardous activity which in an accident injures or results in the death of person. The rule applied in Rylands v. Fletcher case provides that “that a person who for his own purpose brings on to his land and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes must keep it at his peril and, if he fails to do so, is prima facie liable for the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape”. The liability under this rule is strict. It is no defence that the thing escaped without the person’s negligence, wilful act or default or without his knowledge. This rule applies only to non natural users of the land. It does not apply to the things naturally on the land or when the damage is due to an act of God or an act of a stranger or person injured is a