Pollution: Pulling Up WB, SC Summons Its Environment Secretary
Pulling up West Bengal, the Supreme Court today summoned the state's environment secretary for failure to file an affidavit on steps to curb pollution and ensure cleanliness in mid-day meals despite repeated direction.
The bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar was angry as the state defied the court's directive while all other states filed affidavit after pulled up on last date.
"Is some kind of panchayat going on here that the states are not serious? Why are you joking with the Supreme Court like this? You will understand the importance only when we call your Chief Secretaries," the bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud said last week.
The bench directed the West Bengal official to appear on February 22 with the affidavit .
"This is important business," it said after perusing the files of the first two PILs listed before it for hearing. "Do we have some kind of a game going on here? If you (lawyers representing states) do not want to file your counter affidavits, then say that, we will record your statements," the bench had said earlier.
The bench, after perusing the reports with regard to service of notices of the PILs to the states concerned, said if they want more time then they should stand and seek it.
The bench had first took up the PIL, filed by Gujarat-based NGO 'Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti" on industrial pollution in 2012, for hearing and had got irked after perusing the records which reflected that many states have not filed their replies despite several opportunities given.
In over 12 lakh government-run and aided schools across the country, children receive free, cooked lunch every day but "they are constantly exposed to the risk of food poisoning and related health hazards due to a lack of mid-day meal infrastructure and proper monitoring of the scheme," the PIL had said.
The top court had issued notices to the centre, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Central Pollution Control Board and Chief Secretaries of as many as 19 States, including Gujarat on an industrial pollution PIL filed NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti.
The PIL had raised concerns over "massive" pollution of India's waterbodies, including groundwater and seawater around the coast that put at risk the health and livelihood of "millions of people, and the health of animals, flora and fauna."
Among several other things, the PIL sought the court's direction to respondents to ensure that no effluents and pollutants beyond the prescribed norms flow into any waterbody or seep into the soil. No industrial unit be permitted to function unless it has an effluent treatment plant that meets the norms, it said.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.