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Bar & Bench | 15 Nov 2017, 1:43 pm

Supreme Court orders Maharashtra Govt to pay 100 crore in Ulhas River Pollution case

Meera Emmanuel

A Division Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta has ordered the Maharashtra government to pay Rs. 100 crore as compensation for the restoration of the Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers.

The Supreme Court has passed this order in the case of Municipal Commissioner, Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation v Vanashakti Public Trust & Ors.

The case pertained to the heavy pollution that was taking place in the Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers flowing through Maharashtra.

In 2015, after observing that the rivers were critically polluted, the NGT had passed a detailed judgement, imposing a collective penalty of about Rs. 95 crore on the Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Corporation, Ambarnath Municipal Council, Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, Kulgain Badlapur Municipal Council, MIDC and the common effluent treatment plants of Dombivili.

However, instead of paying the penalty, the authorities had approached the Bombay High Court, which stayed the NGT judgment. In order to assail the same, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) had preferred a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court directed all the parties to file fresh civil appeals against the NGT judgment. In their affidavit, the municipal corporations had claimed that they did not have enough money to pay for the pollution caused and that they could only change things in next three or four years.

However, after detailed examination, the Court has directed the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, Sumit Mullick, to give an undertaking to disburse the Rs. 100 crore for the restoration of the Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers, with 50 crore to be paid within a month and the balance in the next month. He will also be held personally liable for any non-compliance of the order.

The Chief Secretary was also directed to take a decision on shutting all illegal industries immediately as well as the disconnection of electricity and water supply to all jeans washing units in Ulhasnagar.

Advocate Zaman Ali of the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) appeared on behalf of the petitioner, Vanashakti Public Trust.

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