Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Supreme Court Calls For Report From NGT Appointed Committee On Yamuna River Pollution

Live Law News Network
19 Jan 2021 9:30 AM GMT
Supreme Court Calls For Report From NGT Appointed Committee On Yamuna River Pollution
x

The Supreme Court on Tuesday called for a report from the committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal on the pollution of Yamuna river.A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde was hearing the suo moto case pertaining to the issue of "remediation of polluted rivers" and proceeded to direct for the report of an NGT-appointed Committee on river monitoring to be presented to...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

The Supreme Court on Tuesday called for a report from the committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal on the pollution of Yamuna river.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde was hearing the suo moto case pertaining to the issue of "remediation of polluted rivers" and proceeded to direct for the report of an NGT-appointed Committee on river monitoring to be presented to the Bench. The Committee has also been impleaded in the suo moto case.

COURTROOM EXCHANGE


In today's hearing, Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora, Amicus Curiae in the matter, submitted to the Bench that the water quality level as on January 18 was excellent and that the ammonium levels were in control.

"If this can be maintained, then it will be good. NGT has also appointed a river-monitoring committee for Yamuna river", stated Arora and requested the Court to call for a report from the Committee as it could provide assistance.

Arora further informed the Bench that the State of Haryana had also conveyed that they were in the process of upgrading certain STPs and CETPs.

To this, the CJI observed that the requisite order calling for the report would be passed.

Arora also submitted that Haryana had brought down the ammonium level in the water to "excellent" which was 0.3 ppm.

"The acceptable point is 0.9 ppm. This means, if there is a will, there is a way. If they can maintain these standards, it will be good. It is a matter of drinking water for Delhi", stated Arora.

She concluded on the note that there was an ongoing dispute between Haryana and Delhi regarding the quantum of water to be released and that the issue should not be dragged here, and the matter should be confined to measures to reduce pollution.

At this juncture, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for State of Haryana, submitted to the Court that the petition filed by Delhi Jal Board (DJB) was not maintainable and that there were many facts which had to be disputed.

To this, the CJI responded, "What is the problem in making an order that the present levels must be maintained?"

Divan, however, opposed the Court from making an observation and contended that the problems emerged from Delhi and not Haryana as the points of discharge were not from Haryana, and that it was being incorrectly projected that the pollution was due to Haryana's acts.

CJI informed Divan that no order would be passed and one week's time would be given to Haryana Government to file a Counter to the plea by DJB.

The Supreme Court also directed the NGT-appointed committee for river monitoring to submit a copy of its report on Yamuna River and to inform the Court about the extent to which its recommendations had been implemented. Further, the Committee has been impleaded as a party.

BACKGROUND

In previous hearing on 13th January, 2021, Supreme Court took suo moto cognizance on the issue of "remediation of polluted rivers".

A Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian observed that one of the major causes of water pollution was the discharge of non-treated/ partially treated municipal waste and effluents of various States and cities. The Court however will start with adjudicating upon the issue of Yamuna River contamination.

The suo moto action came while the Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by Delhi Jal Board on the requirement of urgent intervention of the Apex Court in form of directions on the Haryana Government for ceasing the discharge of untreated effluents resulting in a rise of ammonia levels in river water. According to the petitioner, the intervention is essential to avert the humanitarian crisis that the citizens of NCT of Delhi are facing.

INITIATION OF SUO MOTO ACTION

The issue of pollution of water resources and the deterioration in quality of fresh water led the Bench to take a suo moto action as being an issue of greater importance affecting general public and living beings including marine life.

"Deterioration of quality of fresh water has a direct correlation with the quality of public health. It is an acknowledged fact that pollution of water supplies by sewage effluents has been and still is a major cause of variety of diseases and discomforts", the Bench observed.

The Court relied on the landmark judgment of Narmada Bachao Andolan v. Union of India (2000) wherein it was held that all people, whatever their stage of development and their social and economic conditions, have the right to have access to drinking water in quantum and of a quality equal to their basic needs.

Moreover, the Bench also took notice of the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined under Art. 47 and 48A of the Constitution which casts a duty upon the state to improve the public health of citizens and protect the environment.

On the major causes of water pollution in the cities, the bench observed that "surface water resources such as rivers, ponds and lakes where effluents are discharged from local bodies are highly polluted. Such discharge of human sewage and other pollutants results into deterioration in chemical, physical and biological properties of water. All these processes lead to degradation of natural environment."

Furthermore, the bench was of the view that in dealing with the issue of water pollution, the procedure of setting up "Sewage Treatment Plants" were implemented with a purpose of prioritizing the cities that discharge industrial pollutions and sewer directly in the rivers and water bodies. However, the bench, while observing the facts of the present petition noted that this system is either not treated through a plant before discharging effluents or the treatment plants do not function adequately.

Therefore, the court ordered for taking up a suo moto action on the issue of remediation of polluted rivers.

In view of this, the Bench issued notice to State of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh along with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Central Board of Pollution Control.

The Bench also appointed Ms. Meenakshi Arora, also the counsel for the Petitioner in the writ petition, to be the amicus curiae for assisting the Court in the suo moto cognizance of rivers.

Click here to read/download the order




Next Story
Share it