Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (July 12, 2023)

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

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 13 July 2023

No policy to tackle cattle menace yet, Gujarat HC reprimands state, AMC

The High Court of Gujarat reprimanded the state government and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) for failing to tackle the stray cattle menace. No policy or guideline has been passed to improve the situation despite repeated directions over the past four years, it added.

The High Court July 11 directed the state to frame policy or issue administrative instructions “crystallising the steps, which are to be taken to enforce the control of the cattle menace in the entire state”.

AMC informed the court that a policy was already framed in order to address cattle menace. But the same was returned by the Standing Committee in April 2023 for further examination.

The state, as per directions of the High Court, was also supposed to frame a policy / guideline so that it can be applicable to the nagarpalikas (urban local bodies) and municipal corporations.

The High Court observed that the coordinate bench had repeatedly issued directions in this regard concerning 156 nagarpalikas and eight corporations of the state “so that the law enunciated by this court as well as directions issued by this court are complied with”. 

However, even after passage of more than four years, neither AMC nor the state has framed any concrete policy / guidelines / administrative instructions in the form of circulars and resolutions regulating the cattle menace.

SC stays order naming Delhi’s LG as head of Yamuna pollution panel

The Supreme Court of India July 11, 2023 stayed a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order asking Delhi's lieutenant-governor to head a committee constituted to deal with issues concerning rejuvenation of River Yamuna.

The apex court said that there will be a “stay of the operation of the direction issued January 9, 2023 by the NGT to the extent that the Lieutenant Governor has been directed to be a member of the Committee and to chair it. The rest of the Committee shall continue to function,” said the order passed by the bench of the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and justices Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha and Manoj Mishra.

The petition was filed by the Delhi government.

No more felling of trees for the Shillong-Dawki Road Project: Meghalaya HC

The High Court of Meghalaya July 11, 2023 stopped further felling of trees in Shillong for the Shillong-Dawki Road Project till all procedures have been cleared.

The HC directed that further felling of trees for the purpose of package I of the road should not be carried out till such time that the work under package I is awarded to a contractor and the contractor is able to take up the construction unimpeded, including near the observatory of the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG).

The Shillong-Dawki Road Project under Japanese funding is divided into five packages.

The PIL filed by Kaustav Paul pertains to felling of trees in Shillong as part of package I of the entire project.

According to the status report filed by the state, the technical evaluation of bids is under process and the work for the first package has not yet been allotted after the previous contractor abandoned the project.

Even if the contractor were to be appointed, it is evident that IIG is unwilling to part with any land and the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd is of the opinion that it is not possible to change the alignment at this stage to avoid any land being taken from the observatory of IIG.

Thus, in effect, even if the contractor were to be appointed, till IIG relents, work under package I cannot be undertaken, noted the HC.

As far as the other packages are concerned, there are many other problems with the landowners and though some work in the undisputed areas has been carried on, it does not appear that any of the packages is ready for work being taken up or the requisite work being delivered, the order added.

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