The three-judge bench was headed by the Chief Justice of India, issued a notice to the Ministry of environmental, Forest and Climate Change and Ministry of housing affairs of governments of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi to be represented in the next hearing taking place on January 19.
The Court observed that in the previous judgments there was a mandate given to the municipalities for the setting up of Sewage treatment plants and stoppage of sewage effluents at the surface level itself. Looking at the present situation it is found that either the sewage is not even being treated by the plants or the treatment plants are not functional.
The Court directed the Central Pollution Board to list in a report, all the Municipalities along the stretch who are yet to install sewage treatment plants. They were to also make a list of Municipalities priority-wise based on how much the river stretches adjacent to them are polluted. It also gave the CPB the liberty to identify any other gaps due to which untreated sewage is being released into the river.
Similar steps were taken by the Supreme Court in 1994 by taking the case Suo moto. It monitored the case for 23 years but gained no success and thus, the case got passed on to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The Suo moto petition has been titled “Remediation of Polluted Rivers”. Being aware of what took place earlier held that the directions prescribed in the present petition will in no way dilute the previous directions of the Court or the tribunal.
What was the reason behind examining the matter for the second time?
A petition was filed by the Delhi Jal Board to stop the Haryana government from discharging pollutants to the river which prompted the Supreme Court to take this case for the second time.
Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, who was speaking from the DJB side pointed out the alarming proportions of ammonia in river water flowing through Delhi.
After hearing Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, the court-appointed her as an amicus curia (friend of the court) to assist them in the Suo moto petition. The apex court issued a notice to the Haryana Government and decided to hear the matter on January 19.
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