17. Mr. C.P. Gupta has filed further affidavit (second) dated 6-11-1995 on behalf of MCD wherein it is stated that on experimental basis, initially MCD proposes to introduce the scheme of supplying plastic bags to the residents of Janakpuri, Shalimar Bagh, Jangpura Extension, Preet Vihar, Sarita Vihar, Derawal Nagar and Jain Colony. It is stated by the learned counsel appearing for the MCD that the administration is more than willing to take up the challenge of cleaning the city in the right earnest.
18. The NDMC has also filed a proposed scheme which is in the following terms:
“That the NDMC as per the directions of this Hon’ble Court intends to improve sanitation in a stepwise manner. Step I shall comprise of sweeping the roads/ streets, collection of garbage and its storage at designated and identified places. Step II shall comprise of lifting of the garbage and its transportation to the MCD dumping site at Gazipur. NDMC is also utilising part of its garbage and horticulture waste for conversion into manure at the compost plant at Okh1a.
Regarding Step I, as directed by the Hon'ble Court, the NDMC has selected for intensive sanitation the following compact area consisting of the area around Parliament/Supreme Court, Central Vista Lawns and Circle No. 6 starting from the entire Rajpath up to National Stadium, Hexagon Road, Sher Shah Road cutting the Mathura Road upto Subramaniam Bharti Marg upto South End Road, Aurangzeb Road, Motilal Nehru Marg including Maulana Azad Road, Sunehri Masjid. On the other hand, site from National Stadium to part of C-Hexagon, Central Vista Lawn and also two important markets, i.e., Connaught Place and Sarojini Nagar located in NDMC area. Besides the important buildings as mentioned above, there are 1076 houses in Pandara Road and Pandara Park including MS flats. Ravinder Nagar has got 124 flats. Bapa Nagar has got 102 flats. Rest big bungalows are there. Circle No. 6 also includes the JJ clusters at Humayun Road and Darbhanga House and also the Khan Market, Lok Nayak Bhawan, Pandara Road Market, Prithvi Raj Market........
It is proposed to deploy the workforce in night shift also for effective garbage removal in the area. Each and every household will be given polythene bag for garbage collection and each household will be expected to place the bags filled with garbage at designated collection points. In JJ clusters, the garbage will be collected at collection points designated for this purpose. It may not be feasible to give polythene bags for each jhuggi. Additional collection points will be made wherever necessary to suit the convenience of the public. All the collection points in the aforesaid areas will be effectively supervised by NDMC staff to ensure that garbage is not littered around the collection points.
Initially the polythene bags will be given free of cost to the residents of aforesaid areas for one month by NDMC on experimental basis. Thereafter the supply of bags at subsidised cost may also be considered by the NDMC. NDMC has started door to door collection of garbage in polythene bags supplied by NDMC in certain colonies in the aforesaid areas. It will be gradually extended to other colonies also in consultation with the resident associations. The NDMC will also make efforts to find out if any better alternative to the polythene bags could be provided for this purpose. Other State Governments, Ministry of Environment, etc. will be contacted in this regard.”
19. It would be useful to mention that the MCD has a very large force of Karamcharis working for it. There are 38,311 Safai Karamcharis. The MCD has more than 1400 Sanitary Inspectors and other officials in that category. The total area which the MCD is supposed to keep clean and tidy is 1399.26 sq. km. The simple arithmetic shows that there are 27 Safai Karamcharis and one Sanitary Inspector for one sq. km. of area. We are of the view that with such a large manpower at its disposal there can be no excuse with the MCD for not controlling the disposal of garbage and keeping the city clean. The NDMC is still in a better position. It has 2172 Safai Karamcharis and the area under its control of 42.40 sq. km. which means that it has 50 Karamcharis to man one sq. km. There is no reason whatsoever why with such a huge manpower at their command the MCD and NDMC cannot present a neat and clean Delhi to its residents.
20. The MCD and NDMC have already started door to door collection of garbage on experimental basis. It is stated that polythene bags are also being distributed in the selected areas. We make it clear that the modalities in our interim orders from time to time have been in the nature of suggestions. We, however, reiterate that the MCD and the NDMC must keep the city clean by deploying all the means at their disposal. We are issuing binding directions in this respect in the operative part of the judgment.
21. It would be useful at this stage to examine the relevant provisions of the Delhi Act.
“42. Obligatory functions of the Corporation - Subject to the provisions of this Act and any other law for the time being in force, it shall be incumbent on the Corporation to make adequate provisions by any means or measures which it may lawfully use or take, for each of the following matters, namely:
(a) the construction, maintenance and cleansing of drains and drainage works and of public latrines, urinals and similar conveniences;
* * *
(c) the scavenging, removal and disposal of filth, rubbish and other obnoxious or polluted matters;
* * *
(e) the reclamation of unhealthy localities, the removal of noxious vegetation and generally the abatement of all nuisances;
* * *
(o) the lighting watering and cleansing of public streets and other public places;
* * *
(t) the laying out or the maintenance of public parks, gardens or recreation grounds;
* * *
(wa) the preparation of plans for economic development and social justice.......... 353. Duty of owners and occupiers to collect and deposit rubbish, etc. - It shall be the duty of the owners and occupiers of all premises -
(a) to have the premises swept and cleaned;
(b) to cause all filth, rubbish and other polluted and obnoxious matter to be collected from their respective premises and to be deposited at such times as the Commissioner, by public notice prescribes, in public receptacles, depots or places provided or appointed under Section 352 for the temporary deposit or final disposal thereof,
(c) to provide receptacles of the type and in the manner prescribed by the Commissioner for the collection therein of all filth, rubbish and other polluted and obnoxious matter from such premises and to keep such receptacles in good condition and repair.
354. Collection and removal of filth and polluted matter. - It shall be the duty of the owner and occupier of every premises situated in any portion of Delhi in which there is not a latrine, or urinal connected by a drain with a municipal drain, to cause all filth and polluted and obnoxious matter accumulating upon such premises to be collected and removed to the nearest receptacle or depot provided for this purpose under Section 352 at such times, in such vehicle or vessel by such route and with such precautions as the Commissioner may by public notice prescribe.
357. Prohibition against accumulation of rubbish, etc. - No owner or occupier of any premises shall keep or allow to be kept for more than twenty-four hours or otherwise than in a receptacle approved by the Commissioner, any rubbish, filth and other polluted and obnoxious matter on such premises or any place belonging thereto or neglect to employ proper means to remove such rubbish, filth and other polluted and obnoxious matter from, or to cleanse, such receptacle and to dispose of such rubbish, filth and other polluted and obnoxious matter in the manner directed by the Commissioner, or fail to comply with any requisition of the Commissioner as to construction, repair, pavement or cleansing of any latrine, or urinal on or belonging to the premises.
* * *
465. General penalty. - Whoever, in any, case in which a penalty is not expressly provided by this Act, fails to comply with any notice, order or requisition issued under any provision thereof, or otherwise contravenes any of the provisions of this Act, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees, and in case of a continuing failure or contravention, with an additional fine which may extend to twenty rupees for every day after the first during which he has persisted in the failure or contravention..........
22. Similarly, NDMC is governed by the New Delhi Act. Section 11, 12, 53, 261, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267 and 375 are some of the provisions of the New Delhi Act which are pari materia to the relevant provisions of the Delhi Act. It is clear from various provisions of the Delhi Act and the New Delhi Act that the MCD and the NDMC are under a statutory obligation to scavenge and clean the city of Delhi. It is mandatory for these authorities to collect and dispose of the garbage/waste generated from various sources in the city. We have no hesitation in observing that the MCD and the NDMC have been wholly remiss in the performance of their statutory duties. Apart from the rights guaranteed under the Constitution the residents of Delhi have a statutory right to live in a clean city. The courts are justified in directing the MCD and NDMC to perform their duties under the law. Non-availability of funds, inadequacy or inefficiency of the staff, insufficiency of machinery etc. cannot be pleaded as grounds for non-performance of their statutory obligations.
23. In Municipal Council, Ratlam Vs. Vardichanl the question before this Court was whether the order of the trial Court as upheld by the High Court directing the Ratlam Municipality to draft a plan within six months for the removal of nuisance caused by the open drains and public excretion by the nearby slum-dwellers could be sustained ... ... .
24. In the light of the facts and circumstances noticed above and also keeping in view the suggestions made by the learned counsel assisting us in the petition, we issue the following directions:
(1) We approve the experimental schemes placed before this Court by MCD and NDMC whereunder certain localities have been selected for distribution of polythene bags, door to door collection of garbage and its disposal.
We direct the MCD through Commissioner appointed under Section 54 of the Delhi Act and all other officers of the MCD (particularly Mr. Narang and Mr. Tirath Raj, Joint Directors) to have the city of Delhi scavenged and cleaned everyday. The garbage/ waste shall be lifted from collection centres every day and transported to the designated place for disposal.
All receptacles/collection centres shall be kept clean and tidy everyday. The garbage/rubbish shall not be found spread around the collection centres and on the roads.
We issue similar directions to the NDMC through S/Shri Baleshwar Raj, Administrator, Lal Chand, Chief Sanitary Inspector, Dr. G.S. Thind, Deputy Medical Officer of Health and Dr. V.N. Reu, Chief Medical Officer.
(2) We direct Government of India, through Secretary, Ministry of Health, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi through Secretary, Medical and Public Health, MCD through its Commissioner and NDMC through its Administrator to construct and install incinerators in all the hospitals/nursing homes, with 50 beds and above, under their administrative control. This may be done preferably within nine months. A responsible officer of each of these authorities shall file an affidavit in this Court within two months indicating the progress made in this respect.
(3) We direct the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi through its Director to install sufficient number of incinerators, or an equally effective alternate, to dispose of the hospital waste. The Director shall file an affidavit within two months to indicate the progress made in this respect.
(4) We direct the MCD and NDMC to issue notices to all the private hospitals/nursing homes in Delhi to make their own arrangements for the disposal of their garbage and hospital waste. They be asked to construct their own incinerators. In case these hospitals are permitted to use facilities (for collection, transportation and disposal garbage) provided by the MCD and NDMC then they may be asked to pay suitable charges for the service rendered in accordance with law.
(5) We direct the Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Pollution Committee to regularly send its inspection teams in different areas of Delhi/New Delhi to ascertain that the collection, transportation and disposal of garbage/waste is carried out satisfactorily. The Board and the Committee shall file the reports in this Court by way of an affidavit after every two months for a period of two years.
(6) We direct the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi to appoint Municipal Magistrates (Metropolitan Magistrates) under Section 469 of the Delhi Act and Section 375 of the New Delhi Act for the trial of offence under these Acts. Residents of Delhi be educated through Doordarshan and by way of announcements in the localities that they shall be liable for penalty in case they violate any provisions of the Act in the matter of collecting and disposal of garbage and other wastes.
(7) We direct Doordarshan through its Director General to undertake a programme of educating the residents of Delhi regarding their civic duties under the Delhi Act and the New Delhi Act. This shall be done by making appropriate announcements, displays on the television. The residents of Delhi shall be educated regarding their duties under Sections 354, 356 and 357 of the Delhi Act and similar duties under the New Delhi Act. They shall also be informed about the penalties which can be imposed under Section 465 of the Delhi Act and similar provisions under the New Delhi Act. The MCD and the NDMC shall also have announcements made by way of public address system in various areas in Delhi informing residents of their duties and obligations under the Delhi Act and the New Delhi Act.
(8) The MCD has placed order for the supply of about 200 tippers with the Ordinance Vehicle Factory, Jabalpur (Government of India) in May 1995. The tippers have not as yet been supplied. We direct Secretary, Ministry of Defence Production, Government of India to have the tippers supplied to the MCD as expeditiously as possible and preferably within three months. The Secretary shall file an affidavit in this Court within six weeks indicating the progress made in this respect.
(9) The MCD has indicated that three SLF sites have already been approved by the Technical Committee of the DDA but the same have not been handed over to the MCD by the Development Commissioner, Government of NCT of Delhi. Since Bhatti mines are situated within the ridge area, we do not permit the same to be utilised for the disposal of the solid waste as at present. We, however, direct the Development Commissioner, Government of NCT, Delhi to hand over the two sites, near Badarpur on Jaitpur/ Tejpur quarry pits and Mandi village near Jaunpur quarry pits. The sites shall be handed over to the MCD within three months. The Development Commissioner shall file an affidavit in this Court before 31-3-1996 indicating the progress made in this respect.
(10) The compost plant at Okhla be revived and put into operation. The MCD shall start operating the plant, if not already operating, with effect from 1-6-1996. The MCD shall also, examine the construction of four additional compost plants as recommended by Jagmohan Committee. The MCD shall file an affidavit in this Court within six weeks indicating the progress made in restarting the Okhla compost plant and in the construction of four new plants.
(11) The MCD shall not use the filed-up SLFs for any other purpose except forestry. There are twelve such sites including Rajiv Gandhi Smriti Van. We direct the MCD to develop forests and gardens on these 12 sites. The work of afforestation shall be undertaken by the MCD with effect from 1-4-1996. An affidavit shall be filed by the end of April indicating the progress made in this respect.
(12) The MCD and NDMC shall construct/install additional garbage collection centres in the form of dhalaos/trolleys/steelbins within four months. An affidavit in this respect shall be filed by a responsible officer of each of these authorities within two months indicating the progress.
(13) We direct the Union of India and NCT, Delhi Administration through their respective appropriate Secretaries to consider the requests from MCD and NDMC for financial assistance in a just and fair manner. These Governments shall consider the grant of financial assistance to the MCD and NDMC by way of subvention or any other manner to enable these authorities to fulfil their obligations under law as directed by us.
(14) After some time it may not be possible to dispose of garbage and solid waste by 'SLF' method due to non-availability of sites. We direct the NCT, Delhi Administration through its Chief Secretary and also the MCD and NDMC to join hands and engage an expert body like NEERI to find out alternate method/methods of garbage and solid waste disposal. The NCT, Delhi Administration shall file affidavit in this Court within two months indicating progress made in this respect.
Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India
(1996) 5 Supreme Court Cases 281
Kuldip Singh, S. Saghir Ahmad and B.N. Kirpal, JJ.
1. Concern for the protection of ecology and for preventing irreversible ecological damage to the coastal areas of the country has led to the filling of the present petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India as a public interest litigation.
2. The main grievance in this petition is that a notification dated 19/2/1991 declaring coastal stretches as Coastal Regulation Zones (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Regulation Zones’) which regulates the activities in the said zones has not been implemented or enforced. This has led to continued degradation of ecology in the said coastal areas. There is also a challenge to the validity of the notification dated 18/8/1994 whereby the first notification dated 19/2/1991 has been amended, resulting in further relaxation of the provisions of the 1991 Notification and such relaxation, it is alleged, will help in defeating the intent of the main Notification itself.
3. The petitioner is a registered voluntary organization working for the cause of environment protection in India. India has a coastline running into 6000 kms which has abundance of natural endowments, geographic attractions and natural beauty. According to the petitioner, these coastal areas are highly complex and have dynamic ecosystems, sensitive to development pressures. The stresses and pressure of high population growth, non-restrained development, lack of adequate infrastructure facilities for the resident population are stated to be some of the factors responsible for the decline in environmental quality in these areas. The developmental activities in the coastal areas are stated to cause short-term physical, chemical and biological changes that will and has caused damage to flora and fauna, public health and environment. It is further alleged that as a consequences of indiscriminate industrialization and urbanization, without the requisite pollution control system, the coastal wasters are highly polluted.
4. It is further the case of the petitioner that some of the coastal areas contained extensive groundwater resources and sometimes mineral resources, while in other areas, there are iron ore, oil and gas resources and mangrove forests. As a result of the impact of tidal waves and cyclones, mangrove forests are being increasingly destroyed, while some of the major fishing areas in some of the coastal areas of the country are undergoing serious damage consequent to ecologically unsound development. Over-exploitation of groundwater in the coastal areas in places likes Madras and Vishakhapatnam is stated to have resulted in growing intrusion of salt water from the sea to inland areas and fresh water aquifers previously used for from the sea to intent areas and fresh water aquifers previously used for drinking, agriculture and horticulture are getting highly damaged. Unplanned urbanisation and industrialization in the coastal belts is stated to be causing fast disappearance of fertile agricultural lands, fruit gardens and energy plantations like casuarinas trees, that serve as windbreakers and project inland habitations from the cyclonic damages.
5. With a view to protect the ecological balance in the coastal areas, the then Prime Minister is stated to have written a letter in November 1981 to the Chief Minister of coastal States in which she stated as under:-
“The degradation and misutlization of beaches in the coastal states is worrying as the beaches have aesthetic and environmental value as well as other values. They have to be kept clear of all activities at leas up to 500 metres from the water at the maximum high tide. I the area is vulnerable to erosion, suitable trees and plants have to be planted on the beaches without marring their beauty. Beaches must be kept free from all kinds of artificial development. Pollution from industrial and town wastes must also be avoided totally.”
Working groups were set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1982 to prepare environmental guidelines for development of beaches and coastal areas. In July 1983 environmental guidelines for beaches were promulgated which, inter alia, stated:
“The traditional use of sea water as a dump site from our land-derived wastes has increased the polluted loads of sea and reduced its development potentials including the economic support it provides to people living nearby. Degradation and misutilization of beaches are affecting the aesthetic and environmental loss. These could be avoided through prudent coastal development and management based on assessment of ecological values and potential damages from coastal developments.”
These guidelines further stated that “adverse direct impact” of development activities was possible within 500 metres from the high watermark or beyond two kilometres from it. The example which was given was that the sand-dunes and vegetation clearing, high density construction etc. along the coast could later the ecological system of the area.
6. The environment guidelines for the development of beaches, inter alia, required the State Governments to prepare a status report on the obtaining situation of the coastal areas, as a pre requisite to environmental management of the area. Such a status report was required to be followed by a master plan identifying the areas required for conservation, preservation and development and other activities. A master plan so prepared would ensure a scientific assessment and development of the coastline and this would ultimately ensure the preservation and enforcement of the coastal eco-system.
7. The Ministry of Environment and Forests, undertook an exercise with regard to the protection and development of the coastal areas. It invited objections against the declaration of the coastal stretches as Regulation Zones and imposing restrictions on industries, operation and processes in the Regulation Zones.