Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (January 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 January 2023

Gap in generation, processing of waste and legacy waste remediation in Haryana

The National Green Tribunal (NGT), January 16, 2023 directed the Haryana authorities to take remedial measures to ensure there is no gap in generation and processing of waste and legacy waste remediation.

The court noted that the matter was dealt by NGT in the last five years through several orders, the last dated May 9, 2022 on a status report filed by the Chief Secretary, Haryana dated April 29, 2022. 

The status report did not give a complete picture of compliance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, the tribunal noted. Thus, the court sought further compliance reports with all relevant details and destination of the material required from the legacy waste sites. The additional chief secretary, urban local bodies, Haryana filed a new report on January 13, 2023. 

After going through the report, the NGT found that there is still a gap in generation and processing of fresh waste, apart from the processing of legacy waste according to the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. 

Illegal mining continues in Shamli & Saharanpur

Operation of mines in Shamli and Saharanpur districts of Uttar Pradesh should be allowed only after compliance of environmental norms, including payment of assessed compensation, NGT directed January 16, 2023. 

An application was filed with the complaint that illegal mining had not completely stopped in the two districts and some compensation was yet to be recovered despite directions for the same. 

The report filed by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board January 11, 2023 found that while “some leases which were operating in violation of law are no longer operational and some steps have been taken to fix liability for past illegal operations, two of the mines are still operational even though they were violators for which compensation was assessed which has still not been paid”.

SC directs the opening of Chambal Mini Hydel Project

The Supreme Court (SC) directed the resumption of Chambal Mini Hydel Project, which was closed down as a result of termination of contract between Madhav Infra Projects Ltd and Madhya Pradesh Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Co Ltd.

SC said that closure of the hydro plant is detrimental to the public interest “as not only will it deteriorate the functional condition of the plant, the nonproduction of energy will also be a national loss”.

The court added that even though the bone of contention is the rate being charged by Madhav Infra for supply of energy, these are issues which can be effectively resolved in appropriate proceedings. The dispute regarding charges for the produced energy is not a sufficient or valid ground to keep the plant defunct, SC order said.

The SC January 12 ordered that as an interim measure the termination of contract between the parties shall remain in abeyance and Madhav Infra shall be allowed to operate the plant and produce hydro energy. 

Madhya Pradesh Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitran shall continue to purchase the generated power. SC asked the High Court of Madhya Pradesh to look into the question of validity of the termination of contact at the earliest and preferably within a period of six months.

Implementation of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 lacking

The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was directed by SC to file a counter affidavit within a month on the lack of effective implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 by state governments.

During the same period, the ministry was asked to convene a meeting with the state government ministries dealing with implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. 

The apex court directed the Union government to convene a meeting of all the concerned ministries of the state governments and the state advisory boards, with a view to elicit the present status of compliance. 

SC suggested that they should also consider setting up a dashboard in order to elicit real-time information on the status of implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. 

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