Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (May 22, 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: Monday 22 May 2023
Down To Earth brings you top environmental cases heard in Supreme Court, high courts & National Green Tribunal

Green nod to lighthouse

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued no objection to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) installing a lighthouse in the greenway near the Yamuna flood plains for additional surveillance.

NGT, on May 19, 2023, was responding to the application filed by DDA, seeking permission to install the lighthouse.

The project, however, needs to be approved by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the tribunal said.

“We are of the view that on principle there can be no objection to the proposal if it’s approved by the High-Level Committee and is meant for protection of flood plain zone,” said the principal bench of NGT.

NMCG should consider all relevant parameters and safeguards for protecting the flood plains, said the tribunal. NMCG should decide on this preferably within one month of receiving the proposal, and statutory regulators need to oversee compliance as per law, the order said.

Illegal brick kilns

The NGT directed the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board (UPCB) to look into the operations of two brick kilns in the Haridwar district, Uttarakhand.

The brick kilns — Jai Mata brick field and Gagan brick field — have been defying the siting criteria laid down by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India (MoEFCC), the applicant said.

On May 19, the tribunal asked UPCB to take remedial action and constitute an independent committee comprising the district magistrate, Haridwar. The committee should furnish a report within two months, mentioning the status of other brick kilns operating near the two units. The brick kilns in question are within the prohibited distance, the applicant added. 

Waste management 

The NGT directed the Central government ministries to file their respective action-taken reports on solid and liquid waste management within three months.

The Supreme Court has monitored solid waste management from 1996-2014 and the NGT for the last nine years. There are statutory rules and policies, but action on the ground is inadequate, the tribunal said.

Enacting laws and directions is not a substitute for good governance. Unless the administration accords high priority to the subject, undesirable situations may not be remedied, the NGT added.

Similarly, not preventing sewage discharge into drinking water sources is an offence under the criminal law and the Water Act 1974. The water quality of many rivers (including the Ganga and the Yamuna), lakes, coastal areas and other water bodies is worsening due to pollution.

This needs to be urgently addressed using indigenous technology wherever viable or such other technology, but no drop of sewage can be allowed to be mixed in drinking water, said the NGT on May 18.

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