The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the central government on a PIL seeking direction to halt discharge of sewerage and waste of leather and other industries into the Ganga in the course of its journey from Gangotri in Uttrakhand to Ganga Sagar in West Bengal.
A bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice M.Y. Eqbal issued notice to the central government and others as senior counsel N.M. Krishnamani told the court that all those officials of local bodies who were mandated to ensure that untreated effluent is not discharged in the river Ganga should face action.
Seeking action against officials who have turned a blind eye towards city waste and sewerage flowing into Ganga, PIL petitioner Askok Narain Sharma has sought the setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe violation of various statutes by government officials and other people and a special designated court to try them.
Besides the Central government, the notice has also been issued to Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, National Ganga River Basin Authority and the Central Pollution Control Board.
In his petition, Sharma has contended that unrestricted discharge of untreated sewerage, cities and industrial waste into river Ganga was violation of provisions of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
He said he was moved by the plight of holy river when he, in the course of his pilgrimage to Sangam in Allahabad, Varanasi and Ganga Sagar, could not perform his religious rituals because of the appalling conditions of its water.
He said that the pathetic state of affairs of river Ganga invaded his fundamental right to practice religion as well as right to healthy environment guaranteed under Article 21 and 25 of the constitution respectively.
The PIL said that the failure of the authorities in keeping the national river free of sewerage and other pollutants was an offence under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
The petitioner has also sought direction to the central and the state governments to construct the waste water channel parallel to the Ganga so that untreated waste was not discharged into the Ganga.
The PIL urged the court to direct action against those who are responsible for polluting river river Ganga all along its course from Gangorti to Ganga Sagar.