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UP govt cannot delay execution of order in garb of maintaining law and order: NGT


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The NGT on Wednesday took strong exception to non-appearance of a UP government officer for the third time to apprise it about execution of its order issued five years ago pertaining to the pilgrimage town of Govardhan in Mathura, saying the state cannot delay proceedings "in the garb of maintaining law and order".
The green panel said its directions given in the final order require immediate compliance for the benefit of the public at large.
A bench comprising Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore and expert member S S Garbyal expressed displeasure over an application moved by UP Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi seeking exemption from appearance on the ground of monitoring of law and order situation in the entire state.
"The reason given in the instant application for exemption of personal appearance of the officer, in our considered opinion, particularly, when the exemption is being sought for the third time and the reason, namely, holding charge of Department of Home and to remain at the headquarters, do not justify the absence of the officer today," the bench said.
It pointed out that on earlier occasions the tribunal had accommodated the officer by exempting him from personal appearance. "But it appears from the sequence of events and contents of present application that the officer gradually and in step by step manner is avoiding his presence before the tribunal," the bench said.
The green panel said it had sought appearance of the officers as expeditious execution of its order is necessary because delay in execution has far reaching repercussions on lakhs of people who visit Giriraj Parikarma everyday, specially on Amavasya and Poornima of every month.
"It appears that despite the observations made by the tribunal and the fact that the execution is pending for the last five years, the respondent State and its officers are not taking up these proceedings seriously much less to say in true letter and spirit," the bench said.
It further said if the law and order situation in other parts of the UP is essential, then maintaining the law and order situation in Govardhan and surrounding areas is equally important and is the responsibility of the state and its officers.
"The state government cannot delay the execution proceedings in the garb of maintaining law and order in the other parts of the State because directions are of the nature which require immediate compliance for the benefit of public at large, which according to us is of no less importance than any other part of UP," the bench said.
The tribunal directed Awasthi to remain present before it on January 31, the next date of hearing.
The NGT had earlier slammed the Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday for moving at "snail's speed" on construction of a service road for the pilgrims around Parikrama Marg at Govardhan.
The tribunal had earlier directed the UP Pollution Control Board to ensure prevention of water pollution in Mansi Ganga Kund in Govardhan town, Mathura District, and check that no sewage is discharged in the water body.
The sacred Govardhana Hill has a 'Parikrama' (the ritual of walking clockwise around an symbol of devotion) of about 23 km and can take five to six hours to complete.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Mathura-based Giriraj Parikrama Sanrakshan Sansthan and others seeking compliance of the NGT's August 4, 2015, directions.

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First Published: Jan 29 2020 | 7:25 PM IST

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