Wetlands, Inspections, Constitutional, Property, Standing, Civil, Forests, Human Rights, Criminal, Remedies

In this case, the plaintiff was the owner of a title to construct a residential house on his land plot. After that he obtained all the necessary approvals, he started the construction work. But after a field inspection, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) found out that the construction was within a wetland and issued a restoration order requiring the petitioner to comply with the conditions stated therein within a period of 21 days. As the plaintiff failed to do so, his unfinished building was demolished.

The plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of the Articles 67, 68 and 70 of the National Environmental Management Act ( which were used by the NEMA to ground its decision to order the restoration of the site and later the demolishment of the unfinished building. The plaintiff alleged that those provisions were in contradiction with the right not to be discriminated, the right to property, and the right to a fair trial provided by Article 21, 26 and 28 of the Constitution. The defendant argued that the law was not used to deprive the plaintiff of his ownership over the land and that his right over the land was not absolute and had to be used in accordance with the land legal framework, in particular about legislations related to environmental issues.

The Constitutional Court held that the plaintiff’s constitutional rights had not been violated and that the safeguards contained in the National Environmental Management Act were sufficient to accord the plaintiff a fair hearing and gave him the possible to assert his rights. As a result the court dismissed his petition.