In Court

Published: Saturday 15 May 2004

rapped for laxity: The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has received a sharp reprimand from the Delhi High Court (HC) for failing to ensure the closure of polluting units in the capital. The rebuke came when a division bench, comprising Chief Justice B C Patel and Justice B D Ahmed, took exception to reports about certain polluting factories functioning in Rajokri, on the Delhi-Haryana border, despite closure orders issued years ago. By way of punishment, the units' electricity connection was ordered to be cut.

The court observed that the DPCC and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had acted like silent spectators. The DPCC chairperson was asked to ensure that all such industrial units shut up shop without further delay. He was also told to submit a status report on the issue within 15 days.

The court's directions came in response to a public interest litigation petition filed in 1995. It highlighted violations of the air and water pollution acts in the area. Nearly 19,000 industrial units have been closed down in the capital since the Supreme Court issued a directive to this effect nearly five years ago. However, over 57,000 others continue to operate illegally.

conditional clearance: On April 22, a division bench of the Kerala High Court (HC) stayed the Pudussery Grama Panchayat's order cancelling the licence of Pepsico India Holdings Private Limited for running its factory at Kanjikode in Palakkad district. This was, however, subject to the company not drawing groundwater in the area till May 31.

The HC issued the directive in response to a petition filed by the company, which challenged the cancellation of the licence. The panchayat had taken the step in view of the scarcity of drinking water in the area due to over-exploitation of groundwater. According to the company, the panchayat had no power to revoke the licence. The bench, however, observed that the fact of acute shortage of water in the area could not be ignored.

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