Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (October 17, 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: Tuesday 17 October 2023

Humane committees for Birbhum, Purba Burdwan for protection of wildlife: Calcutta High Court

Calcutta High Court October 13, 2023 directed the constitution of 'Humane Committee' for the districts of Birbhum and Purba Burdwan for the protection of wildlife. The court noted that most of the perpetrators apprehended by the forest department were from these two districts.

The 'Humane Committees' for the districts Paschim Medinipur, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram, Murshidabad, Birbhum and Purba Burdwan shall hold mass awareness programmes to sensitise the local people against indiscriminate and unnecessary killing of animals. Such programmes should continue throughout the year, the order said.

Personal interactions should be held with the local people. In other words, all kinds of measures should be taken by the committee for each district to try and ensure that there is no indiscriminate killing of wild animals, the bench of Justice Arijit Banerjee and Justice Apurba Sinha Ray said.

The High Court February 20, 2023 had constituted a committee which was given the name ‘Humane Committee’ at the district level for five districts — Paschim Medinipur, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram and Murshidabad.

“Senseless killing of animals in the wild for pleasure and in purported show of false prowess is, in our opinion, as heinous and culpable a crime as the offence of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code”, the order had said.

The judgement came on a contempt petition filed against the chief wildlife warden of West Bengal for failing to comply with an earlier High Court directive dated April 18, 2019 that had put a complete embargo on hunting festivals in the districts of south Bengal.

The contempt petition was filed in May 2022 by an NGO called Human and Environment Alliance League. The petition alleged that hunting festivals continued unabated in violation of the 2019 order.

NGT directs notice to be issued to restaurants violating environmental norms in Bhopal

The National Green Tribunal, Central Zone Bench directed notices to be issued to around 13 restaurants in Bhopal for their alleged violation of environmental norms. Notice has also been given to the state of Madhya Pradesh through the collector, Bhopal; Municipal Corporation, Bhopal and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board. The tribunal October 13 also directed a three-member committee to file a report on the matter.

The court observed that even though various letters and requests had been issued to the restaurants and the municipal commissioner, no action had been taken. Therefore, the court directed the municipal commissioner of Bhopal to submit the explanation as to why the action has not been initiated on the basis of the reports submitted by the state pollution control board and under what authority these restaurants are functioning without the requisite consent.

The applicant has highlighted the violation of guideline no 3.4 of the Guidelines for Compliances of Environmental Norms by road eateries, restaurants and other establishments issued by the Central Pollution Control Board, where it has been mentioned that every roadside eatery, restaurant and establishments require consent to establish and operate their restaurants from the concerned State Pollution Control Board.

The restaurants are operating without the CTE / CTO as required from statutory authorities. These restaurants are using coal and wood for tandoor as fuel without proper ducting / hood arrangement and proper exhaust system. In addition, they are violating Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 by disposing of unprocessed solid waste in open and discharging their unprocessed effluent directly into the sewer.

Mismanagement of waste by Municipal Corporation, Didwana, Rajasthan, Committee constituted

Taking into consideration an application raising the issue of mismanagement of waste by the Municipal Corporation, Didwana, Rajasthan, NGT directed a four-member committee to look into the matter. The committee will examine the facts, take remedial measures and submit a factual and action taken report within four weeks.

The court October 16 was also of the opinion that a substantial issue of environment has been raised in the application and directed notice to be issued to all the respondents and they have to submit their reply within six weeks.

The grievance of the applicant was non compliance of Solid Waste Management Rules, Forest Conservation Rules, Water Act, 1974, Air Act, 1981 and Environment Act, 1986 by the municipal corporation of Didwana. According to the complainant a portion of the land in Didwana is being used by the Municipal Corporation as a dumping site, wherein garbage, plastic bags, dead animals are being dumped. This has also adversely affected the green belt of the area.

The industrial area is situated just in front of the plot and various industries are operating near the area and using the above mentioned plot for dumping plastic bags, garbage and other solid waste without any proper remedial measures or disposal of the waste items, the complaint said.

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