The Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna & Justice V Ramasubramanian today issued notice to the Yamuna River Monitoring Committee that had submitted the report to NGT.
“We'll issue notice to the Committee. Keep the matter on coming Wednesday.”, CJI remarked.
The notice was issued upon Amicus Curiae, Meenakshi Arora’s submission, “NGT passed the order & disbanded all the Committees. Two excellent reports have been submitted. The presence of the committee would assist us.”
Earlier, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati had informed Supreme Court that Delhi was one of the most habitual offenders so far as Yamuna Pollutants were concerned. She added that a status report to this effect will be filed before the next date of hearing.
In January, while hearing the petition related to increased ammonia levels in Yamuna [Delhi Jal Board v. State of Haryana] due to discharge of pollutants, the Top Court issued direction to register a suo motu petition viz. contamination of river water, due to improper waste disposal.
Taking into consideration the points raised by the present petition, Court said that although the mandate of law is quite clear; of setting up sewage treatment plants and stoppage of sewage effluents in surface water but on inspection it is often discovered that either the sewage is not treated through a plant before being discharged or the treatment plants are wholly incapacitated.
It issued necessary directions to the Central Pollution Control Board.
- Issue registration of suo moto writ petition (civil) with regard to ‘Remediation of polluted rivers’
- Issuance of notice to State of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Secretary, Ministry of Envt., Forest and Climate Change and Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Govt. of India
- Issuance of notice to Central Pollution Control Board to submit a report identifying municipalities along the river Yamuna which have not installed total treatment plants for sewage as per requirement or have gaps in ensuring that the sewage is not discharged untreated into the river. CPCB may also highlight any other source of prominent contamination within the limits of Municipalities. It shall also submit a priority-wise list of Municipalities, river stretches adjacent to which have been found to be most polluted.
- Appointment of Ms. Meenakshi Arora, Senior Advocate, as Amicus Curiae in the present matter.
- Suo Moto petition shall not dilute any directions issued by the lower court or tribunal.
The Bench in the connected matter(s) was also hearing a fresh Intervention application that was filed by Delhi Jal Board praying for direction to be issued to the Haryana government to release the water to avert severe crisis in the State of NCT of Delhi.
Adv Vikas Singh appearing for the Petitioner requested the Court to appoint any Retired Judge one from Delhi & one from Haryana to inspect the condition.
At this juncture the CJI intervened & said, “Will this become a river water dispute under the Constitution? I want a clarity on this question”
Sr Adv Dr Abhishekh Manu Singhvi submitted that the petitioners did not object to the repairs but only to the fact that the repairs were being done in the month of March, April, May & June which are considered to be the hottest & that such repairs would lead to water shortage for the residents of Delhi.
On the last date of hearing, the Bench while issuing notice to the Government of Punjab & Haryana, directed the Respondents to maintain the status quo of water supply in Delhi.
The matter will now be heard on April 14, 2021.
Case Title: Delhi Jal Board v. State of Haryana| WP(C): 8 of 2021 & In Re Remediation Of Polluted Rivers SMW(C) No. 1/2021