Court Digest: Major environment hearings of the week (November 8-15)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal through the week     

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Saturday 16 November 2019
Photo: Getty Images

Dharuhera industrial pollution

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on November 13, 2019 directed the constitution of a joint Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) to furnish a factual and action-taken report in the matter of violation of environment norms by industries in and around Dharuhera within one month. The CPCB would be the nodal agency for compliance and coordination.

The order was in response to an application seeking execution of the NGT order of December 12, 2017, which directed that discharge from the Common effluent treatment plant (CETP) should be according to parameters which would be the responsibility of the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation and the CETP operating society.

The RSPCB, CPCB and Rajasthan's Department of Environment were to conduct joint inspections. Industrial units were to be inspected. Further directions issued included providing potable water to the villagers and clearing and dredging of all drains.

The application claimed that the authorities had failed to comply with the directions of the NGT on account of which there was stagnation of untreated effluents and domestic sewage affecting the inhabitants in and around Dharuhera, a town on the border of Rajasthan and Haryana.

Smog in Delhi

The Supreme Court (SC) on November 13, 2019 directed the Union of India as well as the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi to convene a meeting for working out the feasibility of installation of smog towers which would take care of smog in the city within a certain kilometre range.

The apex court further directed that a proposal be placed before the court after the meeting “as it is an urgent matter from the point of view of Delhi.”

Further, the CPCB has been asked to “produce the record of each and every day from November 2, 2019, including that of November 11 and 12, 2019, which were not odd/even days, till November 14, 2019.”

The CPCB has also been asked to submit the day-to-day record for the month of October 2019, along with the records for the time period from October 10, 2018 to December 31, 2018 as well as for January and February 2019. 

The apex court also heard the matter of conversion to duel fuel. It directed the concerned persons to file their response, as the Government of India has said that conversion to duel fuel is possible.


Monitoring mechanism for laboratories

The NGT on November 14, 2019 directed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to furnish a list of private laboratories and analysts recognised by it, monitoring mechanism about their functioning as well as the result of such monitoring.

The order came in the wake of an application filed by the non-profit, Social Action for Forest and Environment or SAFE over the effectiveness of the monitoring regime to ensure that accredited laboratories furnish credible reports with regard to analysis of air, water and other samples.

According to the applicant, there were large scale grievances against authenticity of reports furnished by the laboratories which were not being properly monitored.

A report filed by the CPCB had earned the displeasure of the NGT, as it was silent on the functioning of the laboratories and the level of accuracy of the reports furnished by such laboratories.


Air pollution in northern India

The SC on November 13 directed that the feasibility of the technology being explored by the Union government to deal with pollution in the National Capital Region and the whole of northern India during winters be explored at the earliest, keeping in mind the seriousness of the situation and a report submitted by December 3, 2019.

The apex court was responding to Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, who had informed it that he had interacted with Vishawanth R Joshi, a researcher from Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. Joshi is currently working to develop appropriate technology to deal with the problem.

Mehta submitted the information to the apex court in response to a suo motu (on its own motion) writ petition on the matter.

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