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Air Pollution : Allahabad HC Initiates Contempt On Brick Kilns Without Environmental Clearance [Read Order]

Akshita Saxena
20 Nov 2019 3:58 AM GMT
Air Pollution : Allahabad HC Initiates Contempt On Brick Kilns Without Environmental Clearance [Read Order]
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In the backdrop of Delhi-NCR gasping for fresh air due to severe pollution , the Allahabad High Court pulled up Uttar Pradesh administration for failure to stop the operation of illegal brick kilns without Environmental Clearance and asked the administration to show cause as to why contempt proceedings must not be instituted against it. "…it appears that at no point of time...

In the backdrop of Delhi-NCR gasping for fresh air due to severe pollution , the Allahabad High Court pulled up Uttar Pradesh administration for failure to stop the operation of illegal brick kilns without Environmental Clearance and asked the administration to show cause as to why contempt proceedings must not be instituted against it.

"…it appears that at no point of time any environmental clearance has been issued by the opposite party as per law and the same has not been given by SEIAA and as such the speaking orders passed by this Court in aforesaid public interest litigations and the orders passed by the U.P. Pollution Control Board has not been complied with.

Issue notice to the opposite party, returnable in four weeks, to show cause as to why the contempt proceeding be not initiated against him," the order passed by Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi read.

On November 1, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared public-health emergency in Delhi NCR. Consequently, the Supreme Court took suo moto cognizance of the deteriorating air quality in Delhi-NCR and vide order dated November 4, passed a slew of directions to curb the menace of all polluting industries. It had specifically directed the State Pollution Control Board of UP, along with those of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, to put a halt on polluting industries working against norms.

Even the NGT had attributed the problem of deterioration in air quality to "acknowledged gaps" in law enforcement strategies.

"The causes and sources of air pollution may be crop burning, plastic burning, garbage burning, industrial emissions, vehicular emission, C&D waste, and pollution caused by crackers etc. A robust mechanism needs to be planned in the light of expert studies and remedying the failures in satisfactorily handling the situation in the past," it had said.

Nevertheless, the State of UP has remained quiescent, letting the brick kiln industry to flout, with impunity the directions issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest as well as various orders passed by the Courts.

Considerably, brick kilns involve soil excavation and baking of bricks. It is considered as a major source of air pollution since it creates a lot of dust and emits smoke. Therefore, in order to set up a brick kiln, it is mandatory to obtain an "Environment Clearance Certificate".

Accordingly, in Ajay Kumar Mishra & Anr. v. U.P. Pollution Control Board, PIL No. 44262/2014, the High Court had directed that while granting the consent for the operation of a brick kiln, the State Pollution Control Board must verify whether the project proponent has obtained the environment impact clearance for excavation of soil.

Subsequently noting that the brick kilns continued to crop up and cause havoc in the area, despite the refusal of the No Objection Certificates, the Allahabad High Court reiterated the aforesaid observations in Sumit Singh v. State of U.P. & Ors., No.20773 of 2014, and directed the SPCB to make a detailed survey of all the brick kilns operating in all the districts of the State and to ensure that any brick kiln found to be operating without consent or permission of the Board, is dealt with in accordance with law.

As per the contempt petition, none of the brick kilns operating in the Baghpat District of UP have obtained Environment Clearance Certificate from SEIAA. Since this district falls within the NCR Region, it adds to the unceasing increase in air pollution in the capital.

Accordingly, in the contempt petition filed by one Nishkarsh Panwar, represented by Senior Advocate Anoop Trivedi and Advocate Abhinav Gaur, the high court has asked the District Magistrate of Baghpat to show cause why contempt proceedings must not be instituted against him.

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