National Green Tribunal: The bench of Adarsh Kumar Goel, Sudhir Agarwal, Arun Kumar Tyagi, JJ. Prof. A. Senthil Vel and Dr. Afroz Admad has constituted High Level Committee headed by Lieutenant Governor, Delhi to combat unabated pollution in river Yamuna.
Background: The issue raised in the petition was regarding the unabated pollution of River Yamuna and continuous failure of authorities in taking adequate remedial measures in terms of specific orders passed by the Supreme Court.
NGT earlier in Manoj Mishra v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine NGT 662, had issued specific final directions for remedial measures in a time bound manner.
The Supreme Court in Nizamuddin West Association v. Union of India, Civil Appeal No. 3465 of 2022, directed for further compliance of the direction of NGT mentioned above, to the extent that it was directed for disposal application to be set aside and the Original Application to be restored.
NGT while addressing the issue, observed that:
“(…) Having multiple authorities in Delhi may be one of the reasons for not achieving success so far. There appears to be lack of ownership and accountability. Huge amount has already spent without desired results. Judicial oversight has continued for almost 29 years.”
Considering the status of the river Yamuna, NGT constituted a High Level Committee to be headed by Lieutenant Governor, Delhi. The timelines prepared were to be adhered to with laid down penal consequences against the violators. The Committee had been directed to explore the provisions for separate channels for carriage of sewage instead of mixing the same with storm water. NGT also observed that:
“(…) If experiment is successful at Delhi, it may help the country as a whole facing huge problem of water pollution. The Committee will be free to conduct proceedings online/hybrid as found necessary. It will also be free to undertake field visits.”
[Ashwani Yadav v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, 2023 SCC OnLine NGT 25, decided on 09.01.2023]