Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (May 11, 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 11 May 2023
Down To Earth brings you top environmental cases heard in Supreme Court, high courts & National Green Tribunal

Healthcare professionals under attack: Kerala High Court comes down heavily on state, police

The High Court of Kerala May 10, 2023 said it was the duty of the persons in charge, especially the police and security personnel, to ensure that doctors, healthcare professionals, nurses and others are protected to the maximum extent. 

In the past, the Kerala government has been promising that they would be considering amendments to the Kerala Healthcare Service Persons and Healthcare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and damage to Property) Act, 2012.

However, no tangible results can be seen. The court has been passing orders that any attack on any doctor, healthcare professional, nurse or such other should be taken cognisance of by the police within a one hour period. 

The HC said that the citizens also must be made aware of the consequences of attack on such personnel through all methods, including the media.

The Kerala High Court directed that all the orders passed by the court as also the provisions of the Healthcare Service Persons and Healthcare Service Institutions Act, 2012 should ensure the protection of every intern, house surgeon, post graduate student and other persons engaged in the health science education.

P Sreekumar, counsel said that he was forced to file the interim application because the student community would feel unsure and unsafe to work as interns and house surgeons in government hospitals.

The matter related to the death of a 23 year old house surgeon, Vandana Das, due to multiple stab wounds inflicted by a patient in Kottarakkara taluk hospital, Kerala.

Ban Ganga river pollution: NGT directs authorities to take necessary measures

The NGT May 10 directed the authorities to take necessary measures to prevent pollution of Ban Ganga river, Katra, Jammu & Kashmir and file a status report by September 15, 2023.

Grievance in the application before the tribunal was against the failure of the concerned authorities to take action to prevent pollution of Ban Ganga river. It was stated that the river is a source of drinking water for the inhabitants of the town but is polluted by discharge of effluents and dumping of garbage in violation of the Water Act, 1974, the Air Act, 1981 and the Environment  Act, 1986. 

The authorities have not taken any action in the matter in spite of large-scale media reporting.

The NGT December 14, 2021 had sought a factual and action-taken report from the J&K State Pollution Control Board and the Municipal Council, Katra.

The action-taken report filed by the SPCB acknowledged the violations. It was found that there was huge piled up garbage and discharge of untreated municipal waste in Ban Ganga river for which remedial action was required.

The report filed by the Housing and Urban Development Department Of Jammu and Kashmir July 15, 2022 said execution of a comprehensive plan has already been prepared for solid waste management for Katra town at a cost of Rs 8.49 crore. This includes collection and transportation of waste and setting up of material recovery facilities at village Kundrorian, Tantalab, Katra. Further, remediation of legacy waste remains pending as the proposal involves a cost of Rs. 4.85 cores under Swachh Bharat Mission.

The report also mentioned that Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has removed 357.70 tonnes of garbage. Remaining waste from the bank of river Ban Ganga is to be removed.

An updated report was filed by the Housing and Urban Development Department, J&K on January 23, 2023. Among other things, the report mentioned that in order to ensure cleanliness of river Ban Ganga, the Shrine Board, in the first phase, has constructed a box culvert covering a total stretch of 100 metres connecting three nallas and six drains, having maximum discharge capacity of 3.5 million litres of water per day. As a result, there has been substantial cleanliness in the bathing ghat area at Ban Ganga.

The NGT May 10, 2023 noted that the waste processing facility for 38 tonnes per day solid waste is yet to be operationalised, legacy waste is yet to be remediated and sewage treatment facilities are yet to come up though the same have been planned.

Illegal mining in Nainital creating deep ditches: Committee directed by NGT to look into matter

A joint committee was directed by NGT May 10 to look into the matter of illegal mining in Saimalchor and Pattapani villages in Nainital district, Uttarakhand. The committee will comprise the Central Pollution Control Board, Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board and the District Magistrate, Nainital.

A complaint was filed before the NGT against violation of environmental norms by stone crushers and mining units resulting in creating deep ditches and degradation of the environment.

A report filed by the district magistrate, Nainital April 10, 2023 had acknowledged illegal mining by five mining operators. Recommendations were said to have been made for recovery of royalty and penalty for excess mining according to provisions of the Mines Act but no action was shown to have been taken for damage to the environment by such excess mining, noted the court.

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