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Delhi being buried under garbage, Mumbai sinking, but govt does nothing: SC

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

is getting buried under mounds of garbage and is sinking under water, but the government is doing nothing, an anguished said today

It slapped fines on 10 states and two union territories for not filing their affidavits on their policies for solid waste management strategy.

Expressing its helplessness over the situation, the top court lamented that when the courts intervene, the judges are attacked for judicial activism, and said what can be done when government of the day does not do anything or acts in an irresponsible manner.

A bench of Justices M B Lokur and referred to the recent apex court order on the powers of the government and and asked them to inform it by tomorrow who was responsible for clearing of the three "mountains of garbage" (landfill sites) at Okhla, Bhalswa and Ghazipur in the national capital.

"You see, is getting buried under mountain loads of garbage and is sinking. But yet, the government does not do anything. When the courts intervene, we are attacked for judicial activism. We are given lectures on separation of powers and encroachment of jurisdiction," it said.

The bench was annoyed after it was informed that around 13 states and several Union Territories have not yet formulated their policy for solid waste management strategy.

The top court slapped a fine of Rs one lakh each on Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Punjab, Lakshadweep and Puducherry for not filing the affidavit despite earlier directions.

The bench also slapped a fine of Rs two lakh each on "remaining defaulting states/UTs" whose lawyers were also not present in the court room during the hearing, without naming these states.

"One final opportunity is given to these States/UTs to comply with the laws governing India, failing which we may have to call the of the concerned States/UTs to inform us why the laws governing are not applicable to these States/UTs," it said and posted the matter for further hearing on August 7.

It said that the costs should be deposited within two weeks from today with the Legal Services Committee for being used on juvenile justice issues.

"The tragedy is that more than two-thirds of the States/UTs in the country have neither bothered to comply with the orders passed by the Court, nor bothered to comply with the directions given by the Ministry of Environment, (MoEF). This is not only a tragic state of affairs but a shocking state of affairs, particularly since solid waste management is a huge problem in this country," the bench said.

"Every second day, we are attacked for judicial activism. Every now and then there is a statement that courts are resorting to judicial activism or encroaching upon the powers of the or the legislature. What should be do when nobody is working," it said.

The court observed that when the state governments do not obey the laws framed by Parliament, how will they care about the rules.

"What if the government does not do any work or acts in a very irresponsible manner? What should happen and who shall be held accountable? They don't even follow our orders," the bench asked A N S Nadkarni.

The ASG replied that as per the Constitution, the states will have to comply with the orders of the top court and their officers can be held accountable for non-compliance.

"The Solid Waste Management Rules came into force on or about April 8, 2016. We are two years down the line, but we are shocked to know that more than two-third of the States/UTs in the country have not yet complied with the basic requirement of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016," the bench said.

It observed that due to the loads of garbage in Delhi, people were getting infected by dengue, malaria and chikungunya, while was sinking under heavy rainfall.

The court noted that Haryana, Jharkhand, Odisha, Nagaland, and Andaman and have filed their affidavits with regard to the policy on solid waste management.

The for Sikkim, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Telangana and submitted that they would file their affidavits with complete details of the policy and the solid waste management strategy during the course of the day.

Nadkarni submitted that the MoEF have given repeated reminders to all states and UTs to comply with the provisions of the Solid Waste Management Rules as well as the directions given by the apex court.

The apex court had on March 27, taken strong objections to non-implementation of solid waste management rules in the country and observed that "will one day go down under the garbage".

It had earlier said that days are not far when garbage mounds at the Ghazipur in Delhi will match the height of iconic 73-metre high Qutub Minar and red beacon lights will have to be used to ward off aircraft flying over it.

In 2015, the apex court had on its own taken cognisance of death of a seven-year-old boy due to dengue. He had been allegedly denied treatment by five private hospitals and his distraught parents subsequently committed suicide.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, July 10 2018. 19:05 IST