Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan, J., while addressing a matter in regard to the frequent earthquakes/ seismic activity in Delhi, stated that,

“What is in the interest of public, is the execution of directions and not high-sounding words of notifications”

Bench noted that certain notifications and action plans have been initiated by respondents including Government of NCT of Delhi and other municipal Corporation/Council with regard to seismic activity in Delhi.

However, on enquiring about the same, whether the said notifications or action plans have yet been implemented in Delhi, no positive response came by the counsel for the Government of NCT of Delhi or by municipal Corporations.

Thus, in view of the above Court stated that,

“…drafting of notifications and action plans has to be followed up with their timely implementation/execution.”

Further having regard to the respondents submission that Delhi is not at present in a state of readiness in terms of seismic structural stability of buildings, by the next date of hearing, Court expects for the information to be furnished regarding at least 25 buildings in respect of which implementation of action plan has commenced as pointed out by the Government of NCT of Delhi.

As a parting remark, Court stated that at this stage it is not criticising but if no execution of the directions takes place, then respondents must be ready to face the criticism of the Court and action against the officers concerned will be taken.

Matter has been adjourned to 8th July, 2020. [Arpit Bhargava v. North Delhi Municipal Corporation, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 655 , decided on 18-06-2020]


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Del HC | Imminent threat being faced by citizens of NCT of Delhi due to heightened seismic activity would not be resolved with mere paperwork; GNCTD to sensitize public at large

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar, JJ., while addressing a petition stated that,

mere paperwork and consultations would not solve the eminent threat that the citizens of NCT of Delhi faces due to heightened seismic activity and that it is only actual work on ground which would come to rescue of the citizens.

Respondent’s counsel submits that the action plan for making buildings in Delhi seismic compliant had been notified to the Court.

Respondent submitted that all the Municipal Corporations are conscious of the seismic activity in Delhi and that they were working out a plan to implement the action plan.

High Court directed the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi to file affidavits explaining as to what the Plan of implementation is, how it is proposed to be implement on an urgent basis.

Government of NCT of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment Board shall also file similar affidavits as stated above.

It goes without saying that mere paperwork and consultations would not solve the eminent threat that the citizens of NCT of Delhi faces due to heightened seismic activity and that it is only actual work on ground which would come to rescue of the citizens.

In view of the above, Court stated that it hopes the respondents are conscious of the above stated concern, and some real work on the ground is undertaken to save the citizens from a possible catastrophe.

Bench directed GNCTD to take steps to sensitize not only other Government functionaries but also the public at large in the above regard. GNCTD to file an affidavit wherein steps that has been taken by GNCTD in the above regard and what further steps it proposes.

Matter to be listed on 18the June, 2020. [Arpit Bhargava v. North Delhi Municipal Corporation, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 643 , decided on 09-06-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Green Tribunal: The NGT bench comprising of Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson), S.P. Wangdi (Judicial Member) and Dr Nagin Nanda (Expert Member) on the “polluter pays” principle directed the State to pay a sum of 50 crore for the damage caused to river Sutlej and Beas.

The issue was regarding the pollution of rivers Sutlej and Beas on account of discharge of untreated pollutants which on testing were found that total dissolved solids, accumulation of chromium, nickel, zinc and pesticides were high in the chitti bein and toxic metals were found in the soil samples irrigated by Bein. It was to be noted that around 1332 hazardous waste generating industries and 17 highly polluting ones were polluting parts of Rajasthan apart from Ludhiana and Jalandhar. Additionally, 35 municipal councils were discharging sewage into the said rivers.

Therefore a monitoring committee was directed to look into the matter and frame an action plan. It was contended that the Punjab Pollution Control Board and the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) failed to maintain the water quality of the laid down standards. The Committee stated the defects which were:

  • Lack of sewage system.
  • Solid waste dumped on open site and caused choking of the flow of water bodies.
  • Non-availability of STPs and lack of appropriate technology and capacity.
  • STPs were under different authority thereby causing the mixing up of sewage with the domestic waste.
  • Lack of waste water treatment and skilled man power.
  • Non-sustainable approach in designing of sewage management projects.

Accordingly, the Tribunal on “Polluter Pays” principle directed the respondents to deposit a sum of Rs 50 crores for the restoration of the environment as well for relief to the victims and prepare an appropriate action plan so that the quality of the water was brought back as per the prescribed standards. [Sobha Singh v. State of Punjab, 2018 SCC OnLine NGT 346, order dated 14-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of S. Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla, JJ,. listed the next day of hearing on 11.04.2018 in a writ petition against the Corporations (North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and New Delhi Municipal Council) for compliance with sanctioned construction plan in accordance with the law.

The Court found that only 25% of buildings in Delhi complied with the sanctioned construction plan. The remaining 75% which fall within the authority of the Corporations were found to not comply with the sanctioned construction plans. Further, the Court found that it’s order mandating the Corporations to come up with a comprehensive action plan to deal with earthquakes and like threats were not complied with.

The Corporations and local bodies (such as the DDA) were ordered to prepare a comprehensive action plan in accordance with the Court’s directions and submit the same within four weeks, failing which, the Commissioners of the Corporations were directed to be present in the Court in the next hearing. [Arpit Bhargava v. New Delhi Municipal Corporation, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 7378, order dated 7.2.2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court:  The Bench of Madan B. Lokur and R.K. Agrawal, JJ showed it’s distress over the conditions prevalent in the prisons and said that even though this Court has held on several occasions that prisoners both under trials and convicts have certain fundamental rights and human rights, little or no attention is being paid in this regard by the States and some Union Territories including the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Stating that certainly fundamental rights and human rights of people, however they may be placed, cannot be ignored only because of their adverse circumstances, the Court issued the following directions:

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development of the Government of India directed to expedite the preparation of the Manual and ensure that it is ready positively on or before 30th November, 2016, considering the fact that more than sufficient time has elapsed but the Manual for juveniles in custody has not yet been prepared.
  • Noticing that not a single State or Union Territory has bothered to prepare a Plan of Action in relation to overcrowding of prisons, the States and the Inspector General of Prisons are directed to prepare a viable Plan of Action within the next six months and in any event by 31st March, 2017.
  • The Union of India through the Ministry of Home Affairs is directed to obtain the status of compliance of the orders passed on 5th February 2016 and 6th May, 2016 as on 30th September, 2016. The information should be collated by the Ministry of Home Affairs and shared with the learned Additional Solicitor General and the learned Amicus so that even the rights of prisoners, whether convicts or under trials are given due importance.

The Court said that unless due importance is given to the fundamental rights and human rights of the people, the right to life and the right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution will have no meaning. [In re Inhuman Conditions in 1382 Prisons (II), 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1090, decided on 03.10.2016]