Committee Formed To Check Quality and Quantity of Yamuna Water Released by Haryana to Delhi: Supreme Court

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Case Name: In Re Remediation of Polluted Rivers [SMW (C) No. 1 of 2021]

Excerpt

In an Order passed by the Supreme Court of India on April 19, 2021, a committee was appointed to conduct a local level inspection of the quality and quantity of the water released by the government of Haryana to Delhi from the River Yamuna.

Facts of the Case

In this case, the Delhi Jal Board filed a writ petition to ask the court to order the State of Haryana to stop discharging pollutants that increase ammonia levels in the Yamuna River, as well as to order the Respondents to stop discharging pollutants that increase ammonia levels in the Yamuna River’s waters, or any of the respondents’ behaviour.

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As a result, an interim order was sought in the Interlocutory Application to ensure that enough water was supplied by the State of Haryana to the NCT of Delhi to keep the Wazirabad barrage level at 674.50 feet in accordance with the order issued by this Court in Delhi Water Supply & Sewage Disposal Undertaking v. State of Haryana, [(1996) 2 SCC 572], which will reduce the high consensus of pollutants. In addition, the Delhi Jal Board also claimed that the water level in the Wazirabad barrage was 673.30 feet instead of 674.50 feet.

Pleadings before the Court

It was submitted by the learned counsel on behalf of the Petitioner, i.e., Delhi Jal Board, that the State of Haryana’s obstruction of water flow has resulted in a rise in ammonia levels in the water, causing severe health problems for the citizens of Delhi. Furthermore, the State of Haryana continues to disobey the directions issued in this Court’s judgment in the matter of Delhi Water Supply & Sewage Disposal Undertaking. It was further submitted that this Court should select a committee to investigate the current situation regarding the release of water by the State of Haryana.

On the other hand, it was submitted by the learned counsel on behalf of the Respondent, i.e., State of Haryana, that the Upper Yamuna River Board has conducted an inspection and submitted its report in response to this Court’s decision in Delhi Water Supply & Sewage Disposal Undertaking (supra). According to a 2017 survey, the Wazirabad Pond was surveyed, and the water level was 670.61 feet at the time of inspection, and it was not less than that at the time of writing. It was further submitted that before the water enters the Wazirabad Tank, it was diverted to the Water Treatment Plants. Furthermore, the Delhi Jal Board has withdrawn an interlocutory application filed in matters pending before the National Green Tribunal, so no order should be issued in this writ petition.

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It was submitted by the learned amicus curie that the Monitoring Committee gave the recommendations to both States after a thorough investigation. It was appropriate to determine if Haryana and Delhi have followed the recommendations of the Central Monitoring Committee, which was chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India. The Central Monitoring Committee was also looking into the issue of sufficient water supply to Delhi through the Yamuna River.

It was also submitted by the learned ASG that the Union Government of Delhi and the Haryana Government should be named as members of the proposed Committee if this court appoints one.

Court’s Observation

The bench of the Supreme Court comprising  Justices L. Nageshwar Rao, AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, observed that the merits of this matter will be taken up at the hearing of the matter and therefore we should not go into its merits. Furthermore, for the purpose of proper local inspection of the quality and quantity of the water released from river Yamuna by the Government of Haryana to Delhi, the Court observed that a committee must be appointed. It will comprise the Secretary, Delhi Jal Shakti Ministry as the chairman of the committee, Delhi pollution Control Board, Delhi Jal Board, Haryana Pollution Control Board and Haryana Irrigation Department.

Court’s Order

The Supreme Court in its order appointed a committee to conduct a local inspection within a period of 3 days for assessing the quality and quantity of water released by Haryana at Palla, the level of Wazirbad bank and whether the Delhi Government was diverting water to the water treatment plant at Wazirabad, Okhla and Chandrawal before the water reaches Wazirabad Bank.

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Click here for the judgement.


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