Case BriefsHigh Courts

Meghalaya High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ. and W. Diengdoh, J. took up a petition on a matter pertaining to the piling-up of garbage in the town of Jowai. The petition was filed on 12-04-2022 complaining of household waste and general garbage not being collected in the Jowai urban township area from 04-02-2022. The Court had served the respondents served immediately and informed that the matter will appear a week hence for a preliminary hearing and appropriate directions on 20-04-2022.

The Board had filed an application wherein it was indicated that in March, 2021, an NGO by the name of Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) of Moopyut village along with six other villages – Pynthor Langtein, Umsalang, Shhen Pyrsit, Moopyut Madan Tyrpait, Moosakhia and Sohmynting – attempted to close the dumping site at Mynkjai. Though an agreement was entered into for temporary dumping at the site for three months, since no alternative dumping site had been identified by the task force constituted by the Urban Affairs Department of the State along with the Jowai Municipal Board, the collection of garbage has altogether come to a standstill.

The Court was disturbed to notice that in such a serious menace of garbage piling up in one of the major towns in the State, something that may lead to disease and disaster, and the State administration seeks only to play the fiddle. The State of Meghalaya, as in most other cases, washes its hands off and says that it had no role to play in civic affairs.

On 20-04-2022 with the hope that the matter receives the urgent attention at the highest quarters the Khasi Students’ Union of Moopyut village along with the headmen of Moopyut village and the six other villages above named were added as parties. The Court directed the State administration and the District Council to meet at the highest level in course of the day to try and suggest an immediate remedy so that the garbage can be collected and Jowai town cleaned, if only to ensure that major diseases do not break out, particularly water-borne diseases since it had been raining continuously for the past several days. Matter was listed on 22-04-2022

On 22-04-2022, the State and the local bodies informed the Court  that a temporary site for dumping has been identified and the lifting of the garbage in Jowai town has commenced. According to the local municipal board, the main streets have been cleared and it is expected that the garbage from the market places will be cleared in the course of the weekend.

The Court was convinced that no immediate order was required after all the concerned, including the State, appeared to have looked into the matter and meetings have been held to identify an alternative dumping site.

The matter was further listed to 15-05-2022 directing the State Government to ensure that the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 notified by the Central Government in exercise of its authority under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 was implemented as expeditiously as possible by creating bodies and infrastructure in terms therewith.[Synjuk Ki Waheh Shnong Jowai v. State of Meghalaya, PIL No. 6 of 2022, order dated 22-04-2022]


For the Petitioners : Mr L. Khyriem

For the Respondents: Mr B. Bhattacharjee, AAG with Ms R. Colney, GA, Mr P. Nongbri, Mr Philemon Nongbri, Mr P. Yobin, Mr R. Majaw


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that the body of a man, who died near a government office in Utraula block of Balrampur District in Uttar Pradesh was being dumped in a garbage van by the Municipal workers while some Police personnel stood mute bystanders.

Reportedly, after a video went viral, the Balrampur district administration has placed four municipal workers under suspension and three police personnel. The Commission has issued notices to the Chairman, Municipal Corporation Balrampur and the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter in four weeks.

Issuing the notices, the Commission has observed that going by the contents of the media reports, it is not expected from the public servants to show such disregard to the body of a deceased. They appear to have acted in a very shameful and inhuman manner. Body of a deceased human being always deserves a dignified treatment. The approach adopted by the police as well as the municipal workers cannot be accepted in a civilised society. They have not only failed to do their duty but also crossed the limits of the sickening cruelty. This is a serious issue of violation of human rights.

The Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh is expected to issue necessary guidelines to all the district and municipal authorities immediately that the bodies of the deceased persons and people in need of immediate medical care found on the roads, are attended to promptly and treated with dignity. The State government is also expected to identify cremation grounds or burial places for the patients died of Covid infection, so that unnecessary harassment to the relatives of the deceased by locals could be avoided.

According to the media reports, carried today on the 12th June,2020, a Sub-Inspector and two constables could be seen in the video standing as mute spectators while the body of the deceased man was being loaded by the municipal workers in a vehicle meant to carry garbage. The district police authorities of Balrampur have reportedly stated that it was an insensitive incident. The Superintendent of Police, Balrampur has prima-facie found one Sub Inspector and two constables guilty in the matter.


NHRC

Press Release dt. 12-06-2020