Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (October 12, 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 13 October 2022

Bhopal gas tragedy

The Union government will pursue its curative petition seeking additional compensation to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, Attorney General R Venkataramani informed the Supreme Court.

The court was hearing the Union government’s curative petition seeking Rs 7,844 crore additional compensation from successor firms of Union Carbide October 11, 2022.

A five-judge Constitution bench led by SK Kaul ordered the Center to submit a compilation of its statements within 56 days.

“A number of NGOs seek to be added as parties to the curative petition,” the court noted.

Union Carbide’s successor, Dow Chemicals, urged the court to re-examine the curative petition.

“The very maintainability of the curative petitions will have to be examined as it came 19 years after the judgment was passed and without going through a process of review petition,” stated the company.

The court listed the matter for January 10, 2023. The tragedy’s survivors have been fighting for fair compensation and appropriate medical care for illnesses caused by the deadly gas leak.

A curative petition is the last chance a party can ask the court to reconsider a case after the court refuses to review a judgment.

The Government of India filed a curative petition in December 2010. The compensation settlement was seriously impaired and did not consider the quantum of deaths, injuries and losses, the government stated in the petition.

NGT slaps 500 crore

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs 500 crore on the Karnataka government for its failure to protect Chandrapura lake. The lake spans 17.27 acres in Chandapura town and 7.2 acres in Heelalige village.

The tribunal took suo moto cognisance of the matter October 10, based on a media report. The waste dumped in the lake raises several concerns, the media report stated.

It also mentioned encroachments on the buffer zone of the lake. A report was filed by the chief secretary on the same. It showed the poor state of the lake.

“Out of the total 24.27 acres, nearly two acres of the lake in Chandapura town has been encroached,” the report read.

The mushrooming of ‘red-category industries’ in the Jigani Bommasandra industrial area is a significant cause of concern, it added. Industries with a pollution index score of 60 and above are categorised under red. These industries discharge effluents into lakes, violating the government’s zero-liquid discharge (ZLD) policy.

The ZLD water management system prohibits the release of untreated water into lakes.

The fund must be utilised for the lake’s restoration within six months. The restoration should be monitored by a committee headed by the chairperson of the State Wetland Authority, the tribunal added.

Untreated sewage disposal

The NGT has slapped a fine of Rs. 7.5 crore on the Uttar Pradesh government for its failure to prevent sewage discharge into the drains near Lar town in the Deoria district. The tribunal was responding to a petition October 10.

The sewage must be appropriately treated and used for secondary purposes such as irrigation, the tribunal added. It recommended the formation of a committee to oversee the utilisation of the fund.

The committee should consist of the principal secretary for urban development, Uttar Pradesh; nominees of the pollution control boards and the district magistrate of Deoria, the tribunal stated.

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