The words “Central” and “State” should not be used with the names of the NGOs: Kerala High Court

NGOs shouldn’t use the terms “Central”, “State”, and “National” with their names so as to avoid the confusion that it’s a statutory body run by either Central or State Government. Kerala High Court gave the judgment stating the above-cited reasons in the case of State Environment Protection Council vs. State of Kerala [WP(C).No.2366 of 2015(S)] headed by the bench of Hon’ble Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly.

In the above-cited case, the State Environment Protection Council (Petitioner) of Kannur had filed a writ petition of certiorari to quash the building permit for constructing additional six floors in the building. Writ of Mandamus was also filed against the respondent for illegal construction on the building.

According to the facts, Respondent had given the permit to KP Mohammad Ashraf, MD (Global Village, Kannur) in violation of Rules 34(2) and 31(2) of the Kerala Municipal Building Rules, 1999. As a result, an inquiry had been conducted to revoke the building permit and partial occupancy certificate (which was already given).

In this matter, instead of taking necessary actions, excuses were made by the respondents. In addition to the facts, the petitioner also contended that the illegal construction of 6 storey building on the side of the National Highway would cause a severe threat to the life of the people.

As an effect, an affidavit was filed by the town planner of Kannur stating that building construction had violated the rules of Kerala Municipal Building Rules, 1999 including:

  • Open space having a width of 5m was not available [(Violation of Rule 117(1)].
  • Only 138 numbers of parking spaces are provided even though 188 numbers are required as per Rule 34 (2).
  • No space is provided for loading and unloading as provided under Rule 34(6).

In response to the above affidavit, an application had been made by KP Mohammad Ashraf (Respondent) for regularizing the construction of the building, for which the learned counsel of the petitioner had argued that since the rules were violated, further construction of the building should not commence.

The learned counsel of the respondents had argued that whether such private NGO based in Kannur has the right to file such writ petition challenging the construction of the building.

Arguments were held regarding the name of the petitioner where, it was named as State Environment Protection Council, therefore, giving an impression that it’s been run by the Government or it’s a statutory body. On the contrary, it’s just a private NGO. Court held that, while registering, no private body should give an impression that it’s a statutory body. HC stated that “NGOs or associations or societies, should not give any impression, to the public at large that, it is a statutory body, under any enactment, State / Central, as the case may be. Needless to say that NGOs or associations, or societies, registered under the Kerala Societies Registration Act, 1860, as far as possible, should avoid, using the name ‘Central’ or ‘State’ or ‘National”.

HC stated that regarding the alleged construction of the building and violations, the public shouldn’t be misled by the institution in the exercise of the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

HC directed that the NGOs shouldn’t use the word “Central”, “State”, and “National” with their names under the provisions of the Kerala Societies Registration Act, 1860 because it might mislead the public at large resulting in confusions and unauthorized use of the powers.

And therefore, as a result, HC dismissed the writ petition filed by the petitioner for illegal construction of the building.

Click here to read Judgement

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