CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) 2020 MCQs Questions Paper Part 15

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On 7th May 2020, a major leakage of Styrene gas was reported from the plastics-manufacturing plant ‘LG Polymers՚ located on the outskirts of the Visakhapatnam city. The accident took place when the cooling system of a polymers plant got clogged due to the mismanagement of factory workers and resulted in turning the city into a gas chamber. The gas which leaked was styrene gas, which is a hazardous chemical’ under Rule 2 (e) plus Entry 583 of Schedule I of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules 1989.

Principle 1: Polluter Pays Principle

The ‘Doctrine of Polluter Pays’ is a well-established principle of environmental law, which places an obligation of compensating the damage to the people who ought to reimburse it and also have the capacity to disburse it. The principle explicitly affirms that the person who damages or destructs the environment has the absolute obligation to bear the cost of ameliorating the environment. In Enviro Legal Action v. Union of India case, the Apex Court of India held that the polluter is legally responsible to reimburse the individual sufferers as well as pay for the revitalization of the damaged environment.

Principle 2: Principle of Strict Liability

The principle of Strict Liability was established in the year 1868 in the case of Rylands v. Fletcher, where the Court held that any person who uses his/her land in an ‘unnatural manner’ and who keeps any ‘hazardous substance’ on such premises would be held liable under the principle of strict liability for any ‘damage’ occurred on the ‘escape’ of such perilous substance. However, the person is liable only when there is non-natural use of land; the principle also restricts liability when the escape is due to an act of strangers, Act of God, for example, a natural calamity; due to the person injured or when it happens with the consent of the person injured or with statutory authority.

Principle 3: Principle of Absolute Liability

The absolute liability is a stringent form of Strict Liability as it is devoid of any exceptions that were mentioned under the earlier principle. for the first time in the case of M. C. Mehta v. Union of India. This principle implies that whenever an enterprise is engaged in any dangerous or hazardous activity that threatens the people working in the enterprise and those living nearby, it owes an absolute and non-delegable duty to the community that no harm will be caused. If harm is indeed caused, the enterprise will have to compensate for damages, and can՚t use exceptions provided in the case of strict liability. The enterprise can՚t claim that the harm has not been caused due to negligence (absence of due care) or that it had taken all reasonable precautions.

Question 76

Under which of the following principles, will the company LG Polymers be liable?

A. Polluter Pays Principle

B. Strict Liability

C. Absolute Liability

D. All of the above

Question 77

As per the Polluter Pays Principle, LG Polymers will be liable to pay:

A. Amount of Money for restoration of environment only.

B. Amount of Money for restoration of environment and compensation to Individuals who suffered the loss.

C. Compensation to the victims.

D. None of the above.

Question 78

A company ABC limited operates an industrial chemical plant in the city of Azadnagar. Due to an earthquake on July 22,2020, the valves of the reactors in the plant get damaged due to which the operators could not properly transport the hazardous gas for chemical vaporisation, resulting in the gas leakage. The gas leakage resulted in the death of 12 workers of the plant and also some people living nearby the Plant. In this situation, in order to decipher the liability of ABC Limited, choose the best option:

A. ABC Limited can be held liable under the principles of Strict and Absolute Liability and Polluter pays principle as well.

B. ABC Limited can be held liable under the Polluter Pays Principle and the Principle of Absolute Liability, but can be exempted under the rule of Strict Liability.

C. ABC Limited will not be held liable under any of the Principles.

D. ABC Limited will be held liable under Strict and Absolute Liability principles but the Principle of Polluter Pays will not be applicable to this situation.

Question 79

The argument of LG Polymers that, they did not know that the Styrene Gas could leak:

A. is a strong argument and can reduce their liability under the Polluter Pays Principle.

B. is a strong argument and can reduce their liability under the Strict Liability Principle.

C. is a weak argument and will not help in reducing the liability of LG Polymers under any of the principles.

D. is a weak argument but may help in reducing their liability under the Strict Liability Principle.

Question 80

XYZ is a company operating a Pesticide Factory in the city of Rampur. On one day, due to the negligence of Factory staff, there is a leakage of the Pesticide gas as a result of which, many pests and insects which feed on the plantation crops in the nearby farm are killed. There is no harm caused to the people living nearby or the workers of the Pesticide Factory. However, the leakage was so humungous that it reduced the quality of air in the city causing breathing problems for the people living around in the area. In this case,

A. XYZ will be absolutely liable but not strictly liable.

B. XYZ will not be liable under the Strict and Absolute liability principles because the leakage only killed the pests and insects.

C. XYZ՚s liability under the Strict and Absolute liability principles will depend upon the inquiry as to whether the leaked pesticide gas was a hazardous substance/activity or chemical or not and; XYZ will be liable under the Polluter Pays Principle.

D. XYZ will not be liable under the Polluter Pays Principle.

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