Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (September 8, 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: Thursday 08 September 2022

Remove farmhouses from forest areas of Jodhpur: NGT

The National Green Tribunal September 7, 2022 sought a report from the secretary of Rajasthan’s urban development department regarding farmhouses on forest areas of Jodhpur.

The state forest secretary has been directed to ensure there is no encroachment on forest land. “The forest area must be restored to forest department and revenue records must also be corrected according to rules,” directed the NGT bench of Justice Sheo Kumar Singh.

Aadhyatmik Kshetra Paryavaran Sansthan had filed an application before the NGT July 30, 2022 alleging that the municipal corporation of Jodhpur has started taking steps to launch a farmhouse scheme on the protected forest areas, hilly regions and the catchment areas, over which private property transfer is prohibited. 

Further, roads are being constructed by cutting hills, the organisation alleged. This has affected agriculture as well as local flora and fauna, it added.

The report filed by the deputy conservator of forest, Jodhpur indicated there are encroachments and for their removal, letters have been addressed to the concerned collector. However, nothing has been done by the authorities so far.

NGT sets aside order revoking EC of Badari limestone mine

NGT September 8, 2022 set aside a December 2021 order passed by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority of Madhya Pradesh revoking the environment clearance granted to Badari limestone mine in Katni district.

The 5.82 hectare mine in village Badari Vijayraghogarh is run by ACC Limited. The order was passed for the failure on the part of ACC in filing monthly reports on time.

The NGT held that the “extreme penalty of revocation of EC for allegation of non-submission of half yearly report for a past period is highly disproportionate, harsh, unfair, unjust and arbitrary and deserves to be quashed”.

The concerned authorities have been asked to “take a reasoned decision” in accordance with law within a reasonable time regarding the penalty to be paid by ACC. 

Pending decisions, the operation of the Badari limestone mine would not be interefered with, the NGT said.

SC asks Punjab and Haryana to cooperate on Satluj Yamuna Link Canal

The Supreme Court September 6, 2022 directed the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti and the governments of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan to lend full cooperation in building the Satluj Yamuna Link Canal, which has been stuck for two decades. 

The apex court accepted the suggestion of the Attorney-General requesting for four months to submit a progress report to the Supreme Court and listed the matter for hearing on January 1, 2023.

"Water is a natural resource and living beings must learn to share it whether be it individuals, states or countries," the apex court said.

The Attorney-General informed that despite various endeavours, Punjab did not join the negotiating table. Haryana, on the other hand, has been pressing for implementation of the decree to complete the construction of the Satluj Yamuna Canal. No meeting has been held for about two years. 

Gaps in liquid & solid waste management

Liquid and solid waste management compliance was unsatisfactory and there were gaps in compliance in several states and Union territories, noted NGT. The green court directed issuance of notices to Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh and Chandigarh.

The NGT September 7, 2022 asked the states and UTs to file their response by November 11, 2022 and respond why further directions on the pattern of order September 1, 2022 in the case of West Bengal may not be passed in respect of the said states and UTs also. 

The court vide order September 1, 2022 held that since serious gaps in compliance were continuing in the case of West Bengal, the state should file six monthly progress reports by the chief secretaries with copies to the National Mission for Clean Ganga, Union Ministry of Urban Development and Central Pollution Control Board. 

Further, the quantum of compensation was determined to be utilised for restoration measures.

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