Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (September 29, 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 03 October 2023

Conservation of waterbodies

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the constitution of divisional-level committees in Rajasthan to monitor the effective implementation of the water conservation schemes introduced by the government. 

The committee, chaired by the Revenue Commissioner, should remove encroachments over ponds, tanks and lakes, according to the order issued by the NGT Central Zonal Bench, Bhopal, on September 25, 2023.

The NGT specifically asked the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board to prevent the discharge of untreated water and solid waste into water bodies.

In the event of encroachments on water bodies or the release of solid and liquid waste into them, appropriate action must be taken, along with the imposition of environmental compensation, the tribunal added.

The NGT order was issued following an application alleging illegal encroachments and constructions on grazing land. The petition also raised concerns about debris dumping in Bagela pond.

Truckloads of debris were being deposited into the pond. Moreover, Valansia Resort has blocked the natural water source feeding the pond for construction purposes, according to the applicant.

Furthermore, the tribunal directed the Udaipur collector and the municipal corporation to promptly remove the encroachments and ensure that no solid waste is disposed of in the pond area.

Moreover, provisions should be made for a treatment plant to purify the water. The municipal corporation is responsible for installing and maintaining sewage treatment plants (STPs), ensuring the proper functioning of already installed STPs. In the meantime, in-situ remedial processes should be considered in areas where STPs are absent, the tribunal directed.

Eco-sensitive zone of Nahargarh sanctuary

The NGT has issued a directive prohibiting any construction within the eco-sensitive zone of Nahargarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Jaipur, Rajasthan, which would violate the Forest Act of 1980.

Furthermore, the tribunal instructed the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) to take necessary remedial actions and determine the environmental compensation following the applicable regulations.

Notably, the NGT, in its ruling dated September 26, 2023, also mandated that the SPCB consider tree damage when assessing environmental compensation.

A report submitted by a joint committee reveals that the Municipal Corporation of Jaipur had issued a tender for certain activities that directly violate the Wildlife Act of 1972 and the Forest Act of 1980. Moreover, no prior permission had been sought from the forest department.

CPCB guidelines on gold hallmarking 

On September 25, the NGT issued a directive requiring strict compliance with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines for gold assaying and hallmarking.

The states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have been instructed to update and notify the guidelines within 15 days. The NGT also asked these states to ensure rigorous compliance while monitoring the implementation.

Additionally, the NGT has directed the CPCB to reconsider its environmental guidelines, specifically under section 5.0 (10).

CPCB is tasked with reviewing and revising this policy after soliciting input and suggestions from all State Pollution Control Boards. This aims to establish a uniform nationwide policy, eliminating discrepancies or differing criteria. The revised policy should be formulated and published within a reasonable timeframe, noted the NGT.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.