NGT notice to UP govt on encroachment in Agra park

Aggrieved by the alleged encroachment on a park, a housing society in Agra has moved the National Green Tribunal, prompting the green panel to seek responses from the state government and the local authorities.

A bench headed by acting NGT Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government, Agra Development Authority, Agra Municipal Corporation, District Magistrate and others while seeking their replies in two weeks.

The tribunal’s order came on the plea filed by the Jawahar Nagar Co-operative Society seeking removal of the encroachments and restoration of the park measuring 3,165 square yards.

The petition, filed through advocates Gautam Singh and Snehil Sonam, alleged that the park was neither being maintained, nor properly regulated by the municipal body.

It said that a suit was also filed against the encroachment and a local court had passed an injunction order and directed status-quo to be maintained till further orders.

“The applicant being tired by inaction of local authorities wrote an e-mail and reported the matter to the PMO and also sent a copy to the Chief Minister respectively informing them about the encroachment made by the land mafia,” the plea said.

The housing society also contended that some private respondents have initiated construction activity in the park and were turning it into a commercial place.

It said they have also dumped waste and construction material in the colony itself and submitted photographs along with the petition.

“It is most respectfully submitted that the said park is declared under Rule 5 of the UP Park, Playground and Open Space (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2005 and is utilised and maintained by the residents of the colony. On May 8, 2016 the said park was notified by the Municipal Corporation, Agra in the gazette issued by the local administration,” the plea said.

Fully committed to sustainable development around TTZ : UP tells SC

Fully committed to sustainable development around TTZ : UP tells SC
Fully committed to sustainable development around TTZ : UP tells SC

The Uttar Pradesh government today told the Supreme Court that it was “fully committed” to protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable development in and around the iconic Taj Mahal and the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ).

TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq km which is spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur districts of Rajasthan.

The UP government told the court that they were considering a separate micro level plan only limited to due protection and preservation of the monument of Taj Mahal.

In an affidavit filed in the top court, the state government said the provisions for protection and preservation of Taj Mahal have been included in the master plan of Agra 2021.

“It is respectfully submitted that the state is fully committed to protect environment and ensure sustainable development specifically in and around the Taj Trapezium Zone,” the state said in the affidavit.

“State further undertakes to follow environmental law and all orders of this court diligently and faithfully to ensure balance of ecosystem of the Taj Trapezium Zone,” it said.

The counsel appearing for the state mentioned the matter before a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta and sought permission to file the affidavit.

The bench agreed to the submission and permitted the state to file its affidavit.

The affidavit has been filed by the state in pursuance to the October 27 order of the apex court which had directed it to submit a comprehensive policy on preservation of Taj Mahal and the TTZ.

The apex court had earlier stayed its order directing demolition of a multi-level car parking being built near the Taj Mahal and had asked the authorities to maintain status quo at the site.

Environmentalist M C Mehta, who has filed a plea seeking protection of the Taj from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and around the area, had earlier told the bench that TTZ was an “ecologically sensitive area” and the government should have come out with a comprehensive policy for preservation and protection of Taj.

The apex court, which is dealing with a petition filed by Mehta, has been monitoring development in the area to protect the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1631. The historic mausoleum is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The top court had earlier passed a slew of directions to protect the monument.

( Source – PTI )

Explain reasons for not sealing illegal borewells: NGT

Explain reasons for not sealing illegal borewells: NGT
Explain reasons for not sealing illegal borewells: NGT

The National Green Tribunal has directed the Uttar Pradesh government and the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to file an explanation for not sealing illegal borewells in Ghaziabad and Hapur districts which were installed without the consent of authorities.

A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim rapped the CGWA and the SDM concerned for not taking action against illegal extraction of ground water.

“Vide our order dated August 17, we had expressed our displeasure and inaction on part of the CGWA and other authorities in not implementing the directions passed by this tribunal with regard to the action to be taken as permissible in law against illegal extraction of ground water without valid NoC and sanction from the competent authority…

“Inaction on the part of the CGWA and SDM is noted, we direct them to file their explanations. In the meanwhile, action as directed vide our earlier order be also taken by all concerned and report of compliance be also filed by October 24,” the bench said.

During the proceedings, the CGWA told the tribunal that they have identified the industries which are illegally extracting ground water and asked the authorised officer to take action against them.

The state government, however, submitted that CGWA has not furnished the list of the industries against whom action has to be taken except an intimation through e-mail.

The tribunal had earlier said that people who depend on borewells for drinking water and do not have alternative sources of supply, need to obtain permission from the CGWA.

The NGT had directed the sealing of borewells run by industries, private individuals, builders or water tanker operators in Ghaziabad and Hapur districts.

However, the green panel later clarified that it did not intend to affect the lives of the local residents who depend on groundwater for survival and asked all domestic consumers to apply for permission, if they have not done till date.

Earlier, the NGT had directed CGWA to submit a detailed report on industries in Ghaziabad and Hapur after a plea alleged that incessant extraction of groundwater has resulted in depletion of the water table.

The NGT was hearing a plea by Ghaziabad resident Sushil Raghav and NGO Society for Protection of Environment and Biodiversity seeking closure of all industrial units extracting groundwater illegally in notified areas of Ghaziabad and Hapur.

( Source – PTI )

Don’t issue fresh certificates to 17 OBCs recommended for SC status: Allahabad HC

Don't issue fresh certificates to 17 OBCs recommended for SC status: Allahabad HC
Don’t issue fresh certificates to 17 OBCs recommended for SC status: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure that no fresh caste certificates are issued to those belonging to 17 Other Backward Classes (OBC) groups which the state cabinet had last month decided to include among the Scheduled Castes.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice D B Bhosle and Justice Yashwant Verma passed the order on a public interest litigation filed by a Gorakhpur-based organisation Dr Ambedkar Granthalaya Evam Jan Kalyan Samiti, challenging the Akhilesh Yadav government’s decision to include the 17 OBC groups in SC catergory.

The move was criticised by opposition parties as a populist step taken by the ruling Samajwadi Party ahead of the Assembly polls in the state.

Appearing on behalf of the state government, Advocate General Vijay Bahadur Singh submitted that the recommendation of the state government has been sent to the Centre for approval by Parliament and in the meantime no fresh caste certificates have been issued in the light of the notification.

The court, while issuing the direction, also asked the state government to file its counter affidavit within two weeks.

Earlier, hearing a PIL raising similar objection over the state government’s move on January 12, the court had sought reply from the state government and fixed February 9 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

( Source – PTI )

NGT contempt notice against UP govt

NGT contempt notice against UP govt
NGT contempt notice against UP govt

National Green Tribunal has issued contempt notices to Uttar Pradesh government and other authorities on a plea seeking action against illegal manufacturing, storage and transportation of ethanol by distilleries and sugar mills in the state.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar sought response from Akhilesh Yadav government, Principal Secretary, Department of Excise and Excise Commissioner of UP, Chief Controller of Explosives and others for non-compliance of its May 9 order asking all sugar mills without requisite licence to stop alcohol production.

Contempt notices have also been issued against Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, Indian Sugar Mill Association and National Cooperative of Sugar Factories Ltd.

The matter is scheduled for hearing on October 6.

The order came on a contempt plea filed by NGO SAFE alleging that the authorities were allowing illegal operation of ethanol producing units without license and in contravention of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules 1989, putting lives at grave risk.

It has also referred to UP government’s affidavit and contended that only two of the 35 distilleries had requisite license while the others were manufacturing ethanol illegally.

“The industries manufacturing absolute alcohol or ethanol were not only operating illegally without the requisite permission from competent authorities, but also manipulating the actual total production, storage and sales figures of absolute alcohol causing not only huge financial loss to state revenue but also jeopardising safety of people and environment,” the NGO said in its contempt plea.

The NGT on May 9 had directed that no manufacturer will produce absolute alcohol without seeking appropriate permission from the Ministry of Commerce, Chief Controller Explosives and other authorities.

“It is in view of the fact that under the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 and Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules 1996 as notified under the provision of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 such permission is required,” the tribunal had said.

The direction was passed while disposing of the plea seeking closure of all the ethanol units operating without the permission or not complying with provisions as specified under 1989 Rules.

( Source – PTI )

HC orders more compensation to rape survivor

HC orders more compensation to rape survivor
HC orders more compensation to rape survivor

The Allahabad High Court today directed Uttar Pradesh government to provide an additional Rs 10 lakh compensation to a minor rape survivor and make arrangements for her free residential education up to degree level and employment thereafter.

The state government had already provided rupees three lakh as compensation.

The court also said that the amount of compensation should be kept as fixed deposit in a nationalised bank, which could be utilised by the minor after attaining the age of 21 year.

It strictly prohibited every one to disclose her identity and past circumstances at any stage.

The court also directed to keep her new-born child in the hospital until the opinion of doctors for discharge.

“Thereafter, the child shall be handed over to the child welfare committee where adoption process may be completed under supervision of “amicus curiae”,” the court said.

A division bench of justice Shabihul Hasnain and justice D K Upadhayaya gave the judgement on a writ petition and an application moved on behalf of minor rape survivor seeking a direction for her betterment and initiating the adoption proceeding of the new-born child as she and her father were not intending to keep the child with them, the amicus curiae senior advocate J N Mathur said.

He also said that he may approach to the court in case any inconvenience arises in this matter as per the court’s order.

The court also directed that the concerned district magistrate and the SP would also look after the minor rape survivor and her family and any NGO may provide help to her, Mathur said.

Earlier, the rape survivor had filed the petition through her father.

The court disposed of the petition.

( Source – PTI )

HC seeks reply on plea against voting rights

allahabadThe Allahabad High Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file a counter-affidavit on a petition challenging an amendment in state’s urban local self-government laws giving nominated members right to vote in meetings of municipalities.

The order to file the counter-affidavit was passed by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Dilip Gupta.

(Source: PTI)

Allahabad HC asks UP govt to submit its policy on murder compensation

The Uttar Pradesh government has been directed by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High court to submit its policy regarding paying of compensation to the family of the murdered persons in the state.

The court has given two weeks time to the UP government to submit its report.

A division bench of court comprising Justices Uma Nath Singh and Satish Chandra gave this order after hearing the arguments of petitioner’s counsel Asoke Pande and Additional Advocate General Bulbul Godiyal.

The court was hearing the PIL filed by social activist Nutan Thakur as regards different compensation amounts being paid by the UP government in different cases of murder.

In the petition, Dr Thakur had prayed that while Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has paid a compensation of Rs 50 lakh and Rs 20 lakh each in Pratapgarh triple murder incidence, it has not given any compensation in other murder cases, including the political murder of Ram Babu Gupta in Tanda, Ambedkarnagar.

The PIL says that this is against the right to equality enshrined in the Indian constitution and the UP Government does not have a right to differentiate cases of murder without sufficient reasons.

Dr Thakur had prayed to direct the UP Government to frame a definite policy for compensation in murder cases. She also prayed to pay compensation of similar amount in all other murder cases that happened recently.

SC direction bringing change to life of Vrindavan widows

After the order of Supreme Court  an NGO Sulabh International is trying to improve the condition of widows who are living in government shelter homes at Vrindavan.

A bench comprising Justices DK Jain and Madan B Lokur had taken strong exception to the manner in which the bodies of widows were disposed by chopping them into pieces and putting them in gunny bags due to lack of money for proper cremation.

The court had expressed serious concern over lack of provision of food as well.

The apex court had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to at least ensure that proper last rites were performed to ‘Vrindavan widows’ as per their religion.

The Bench also gave directions for providing Vrindavan widows immediate relief, including supply of proper food, mandatory visits by a team of doctors from the Mathura civil hospital twice a week and ensuring basic sanitation in the shelter homes.

It also wanted the Centre to play a proactive role in the matter.

The Bench suggested that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON) and NGO Sulabh International be contacted to find out whether they could come forward to help the 1,790-odd widows living in deplorable conditions in the four government shelters at Vrindavan.

The court had asked the NALSA (National Legal Service Authority) to contact the Sulabh International to find out whether they could come forward to help the widows living in four government shelters at Vrindavan.

The Apex Court bench reposed trust on Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh movement, and asked him to look into the cause of old ailing widows at Vrindavan.

Murder victim’s kin to get Rs.5 lakh

The Uttar Pradesh government has been asked by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asked  to pay Rs.5 lakh to the next of kin of a minor girl strangled to death by a constable last year.

According to NHRC, “It is established that a constable attempted to rape the 14-year-old victim, strangulated her and then hanged her from a tree in the premises of the police station in Lakhimpur.”

Calling it a “grievous violation of human rights”, the commission said that a team of doctors colluded with police to give a false report on the cause of death. Two constables attempted to destroy evidence.

“The senior police officers committed dereliction of duty by not taking timely appropriate action,” According to the official. The incident was reported June 10, 2011.