Yamuna pollution: SC asks Delhi, Haryana to file status report; matter to be heard on Oct 3

The Supreme Court has asked Haryana and Delhi to file their status reports on pollution of Yamuna river and said it would consider the issue on October 3.

While hearing a suo motu case titled ‘Remediation of polluted rivers’ on Tuesday, the apex court noted it has been brought to its notice that matters relating to pollution of Yamuna as also the coastal areas and remedial measures are before it.

A bench of justices A S Bopanna and Prashant Kumar Mishra observed it has been pointed out that it would be appropriate if these issues are bifurcated and heard so that there could be effective implementation of the remedial measures.

“In that view, we deem it appropriate to first hear the issue relating to the pollution of the Yamuna river. In that regard, the status report shall separately be filed by the state of Haryana as also by the state of Delhi,” it said.

“Similarly, insofar as the coastal areas, though the issue would be taken up separately, for which a date would be fixed on the subsequent occasions when these matters are listed, the status report in that regard, is also necessary to be filed by the competent authorities,” the bench said.

It said to consider the issue relating to the pollution of Yamuna, the matter would be listed on October 3.

“The date for consideration of the matters relating to the coastal areas would be thereafter fixed. However, separate status report be filed in the meanwhile on exchanging the copies with the counsel representing the parties,” the bench said.

On January 13, 2021, the apex court had taken cognisance of contamination of rivers by sewage effluent and observed that pollution free water forms the basic right under the Constitutional framework and a welfare state is “bound” to ensure the same.

It had issued notices to the Centre, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and five states, including Delhi and Haryana, on the issue.

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The top court, which had directed its registry to register the suo motu case as ‘Remediation of polluted rivers’, had said it would first take up the issue of contamination of the Yamuna and asked the CPCB to submit a report identifying municipalities along the river which have not installed total treatment plants for sewage.

The order was passed by the apex court which was hearing a plea of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) alleging that water containing high pollutants was being released into the Yamuna from Haryana.

The order had referred to a 2017 judgement and said it was directed that the norms for generating funds, for setting up and operating the ‘Common Effluent Treatment Plant’ as well as ‘Sewage Treatment Plants’ shall be finalised on or before March 31, 2017, so as to be implemented from the next financial year of that date.

“It was directed that for the purpose of setting up these plants, the state government will prioritize such cities, towns and villages, which discharge industrial pollutants and sewer directly in rivers and water bodies,” the order had noted.

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