Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (September 28, 2022)

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: Wednesday 28 September 2022

Taj Mahal

The Supreme Court (SC) September 26, 2022 directed the Agra Development Authority to remove all business activities within 500 metres from the boundary / peripheral wall of the Taj Mahal.

The SC order was passed in response to an application filed by a group of shop owners who had been allotted an area outside the 500 m radius to run their businesses. They informed the court that illegal business activities were being carried out near the Taj Mahal.

Eco-sensitive zones 

The SC has said its June 3, 2022 judgement that directed for a kilometre-wide ‘no development zone’ for protected areas, might not be feasible in all cases. Specific instances with regard to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Guindy National Park were also cited in the judgment.

NAREDCO West Foundation (Maharashtra) had filed an application before the SC. It had sought clarification on the June 3 judgement.

The SC judgment June 3 had directed that every protected area like a national park or wildlife sanctuary must have an eco-sensitive zone of minimum one kilometre width. The applicant said this order could not be applicable to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park as well as the Thane Flamingo Creek Sanctuary.

The reason cited was that the eco-sensitive zone around the Sanjay Gandhi National Park had already been notified December 5, 2016. The eco-sensitive zone around Thane Flamingo Creek Sanctuary had been notified October 14, 2021.

Protection of water bodies

Once it is known that a particular piece of land is a water body, nobody can be permitted to mine it. It is the duty of the state government to preserve and protect  water bodies, the SC said September 23.

The bench was hearing a plea challenging the order of the Madras High Court and stated that it did not find any reason to interfere with the court’s order. The matter related to mining near a water body in Tiruchirappalli district, Tamil Nadu.

Sunni Dam Hydroelectric Project

The SC has allowed the diversion of 397.8863 hectares of forest land in Himachal Pradesh for the construction of the Sunni Dam Hydroelectric Project, subject to the conditions stipulated in environment and forest clearance. The 382 megawatt project is situated on the Satluj river in Shimla and Mandi districts of Himachal Pradesh.

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