Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding unregulated handling of plastic, Delhi, 05/08/2019

  • 05/08/2019

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Satish Kumar Vs Union of India & Others dated 05/08/2019 regarding compliance of the judgment by Supreme directing shifting/closing of industrial activities falling under category ‘F’ of the Master Plan of Delhi, 2001.

History of the Case: 

The Tribunal dealt the matter by way of final order dated 12.12.2013 noting that environmental degradation and havoc was being caused by unscientific handling of plastic on the environment. The Tribunal directed the authorities to perform their statutory duty and deal with the matter.

In spite of lapse of more than fourteen years after the order of the Supreme Court and more than four and a half year after the order of the Tribunal, when the matter was reviewed on 20.07.2018, the Tribunal found that unregulated handling of plastic continued unabated. The Tribunal directed the Chief Secretary, Delhi to co-ordinate with the concerned authorities and ensure compliance of directions of the NGT at the ground level forthwith. Four months’ time was given for doing so. The Chief Secretary, Delhi was also directed to indicate the persons accountable for their failure against whom appropriate penal action could be taken.

The matter was thereafter reviewed on 03.12.2018. It was again noted that in violation of order of the Supreme Court passed more than 14 years ago, unregulated handling of plastic including burning thereof was continuing imperiling the health of the citizens and the environment. The report from authorities placed on record itself shows carrying on of illegal activities and creation of unhygienic/unhealthy conditions. It was noted that large scale degradation of environment was taking place. The Tribunal directed the Government of Delhi to deposit a sum of Rs. 25 Crores towards cost of damage to the environment and furnish performance guarantee in the like amount with the CPCB. It was further directed that if the failure continues, the Delhi Government will be liable to pay a further amount of Rs. 10 Crore per month as a coercive measure for compliance of the order of this Tribunal. The amount is to be spent on restoration of the environment.

Again, vide order dated 18.07.2019, the Tribunal found that action taken against identified polluters was inadequate and gave last opportunity to Delhi Government to take necessary steps in the matter and file further compliance report giving details of action taken month-wise. The Chief Secretary was required to remain present in person.

Accordingly, the Chief Secretary is present in person and compliance affidavit has been filed on 02.08.2019 by the Special Secretary (Environment) and Member Secretary, DPCC stating that an action plan has been prepared and has been executed. In view above, NGT directs that further action be continued and a report as on 31.10.2019 be filed. Further, as already directed, vide order dated 18.07.2019 in Lokadhikar Sangathan vs. Govt. Of NCT of Delhi & Ors., the Oversight Committee headed by Justice Pratibha Rani, former Judge of the Delhi High Court, may furnish its final report before 31.10.2019, setting out its recommendations cumulatively at one place in a tabular form in the present case also.