CPCB orderd closure of 8 industrial units in Uttarakhand’s Sitaganj area

New Delhi:  After the Central Pollution Control Board found few industrial units in Uttarakhand’s industrial units violating pollution norms.The National Green Tribunal has ordered closure of eight industrial units in Uttarakhand’s Sitarganj area.

A bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore asked the authorities to shut down Gujarat Ambuja Exports Limited, Fleetguard Filters Pvt Ltd, Speciality Industrial Polymers & Coatings Pvt Ltd, Henken Chembond Surface Ace Tech Ltd, Western Consolidated Pvt Ltd, Balaji Action Buildwell Pvt Ltd, Reckitt and Benkiser Unit 1, and Reckitt and Benkiser Unit 2.

“We order that all these industries shall be shut down immediately. The Collector, Uddam Singh Nagar and Superintendent of Police as well as Member Secretary state pollution control board shall ensure that all these industries are shut down forthwith,” the bench said.

The tribunal also directed the CPCB to submit a report with respect to the remaining industries which they have already inspected and submit the analysis report by June 18.

It had earlier directed the CPCB to inspect and take samples from industries located in the vicinity of Uttarakhand village of Siddh Garbyang so that the polluting units can be shut.

The tribunal had earlier appointed senior advocate Raj Panjwani and advocate Meera Gopal to assist it on a complaint of the residents of the Uttarakhand village, alleging discharge of untreated chemical effluents in drains by industries located in the vicinity.

The villagers had contended that there was complete violation of environmental laws and pollution norms by a large number of industries at the SIDCUL industrial park, located in the vicinity of Siddh Garbyang.

Terming the situation as alarming, the bench had directed its registry to register the villagers’ letter as a petition and asked the Uttarakhand state pollution control board to inspect the industrial units around the village.

The NGT had issued notices to the Uttarakhand government, District Magistrate of Udham Singh Nagar, state pollution control board, and Managing Director of SIDCUL, and sought their responses.

The state pollution board was directed to identify the industries which were discharging untreated effluent and causing air and ground water pollution. It had also been asked to inform the tribunal on whether the industries were complying with the conditions of environment clearance.

The complainants had said the industrial units were spewing black soot which deposited black dust on the village houses, especially in the morning and evening hours due to which it was difficult for the residents to sit outside their houses or do any work.

“During rainy season, the effluent spread over the agriculture fields and even the tube wells of the village are having coloured water which is not fit for human or animal consumption,” the petition had said.

Man sentenced to death for raping, killing minor

Man sentenced to death for raping, killing minor
Man sentenced to death for raping, killing minor

A fast track court today handed death sentence to a man for raping and killing a minor at Kashipur in Udhamsingh Nagar district last year.

Fast track POCSO court judge Neelam Ratra handed the death sentence to Karandeep Sharma alias Raju after pronouncing him guilty of raping and killing an eight-year-old girl on the night of June 25, 2016, Assistant District Prosecutor Umesh Nath Pandey said.

The man was convicted of taking the minor girl, who was returning from a religious gathering, to a deserted area under some pretext and raping her before strangling her to death.

The body of the girl was found in a field the next day.

( Source – PTI )

Sewage in Kosi: NGT slams U’khand for non compliance of order

Sewage in Kosi: NGT slams U'khand for non compliance of order
Sewage in Kosi: NGT slams U’khand for non compliance of order

Irked over non-implementation of its order on pollution in river Kosi in Nainital, the National Green Tribunal has slammed the Uttarakhand government for the delay in filing an action plan for collection and disposal of sewage in the entire area.

The green panel, which had constituted a committee last December and asked it to submit action plan within three months, said the Uttarakhand government needs to work with greater “seriousness”.

It expressed concern over the fact that two months have passed since the expiry of its order and neither any application has been filed for extension of time nor any step taken to enforce its order.

“Execution of the orders of the tribunal is essence of environmental justice and the person, particularly authorities, who do not carry out the directions not only are liable for disobedience but are also responsible for causing pollution and degradation of environment and ecology of the area. This relate to a serious matter like dealing with the sewage that was generated in various towns.

“One of the basic and fundamental source of pollution of river Ganga is discharge of untreated sewage into the river.

If this is the attitude with which Uttarakhand proposes to deal with the matters of environment, much needs to be said as well as appropriate actions are required to be taken against the concerned authorities…,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.

The tribunal also issued notices to Uttarakhand Environment Secretary, CEO of Pay Jal Nigam and Pay Jal Sansthan, District Magistrate and Member Secretary of state Pollution Control Board to show cause why costs for adjournments be not imposed personally on the these officers and recovered from their salaries.

The matter is now listed for next hearing on July 4.

Kosi originates from the middle Himalayas from Kumaon in Uttarakhand, which does not emanate from any glacier and is a perennial river like Ramganga. .

( Source – PTI )

NGT bailable warrants against sr U’khand officials

NGT bailable warrants against sr U'khand officials
NGT bailable warrants against sr U’khand officials

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued bailable warrants against Environment Secretary of Uttarakhand government and other senior officials, including district magistrate of Nainital, for their failure to comply with its directions passed earlier.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar slammed the Uttarakhand government observing that it needs to show “greater seriousness and carry out orders of the tribunal with sincerity and effectiveness”.

The tribunal had on December 10 last year passed a slew of directions, including constitution of a committee to submit a comprehensive action plan on the issue of pollution of river Kosi in Nainital due to discharge of sewage, waste water and domestic effluents.

While issuing bailable warrants, the bench noted that the committee was directed to file a report within three months but neither any report was filed nor anybody appeared before it on behalf of the panel or Uttarakhand government.

“Execution of the orders of the tribunal is essence of environmental justice and the person, particularly authorities who do not carry out the directions not only are liable for disobedience but are also responsible for causing pollution and degradation of environment and ecology of the area,” the bench said.

“As there is no compliance of the orders passed by the tribunal, consequently, we issue bailable warrants against Secretary of Environment, State of Uttarakhand, CEO of Pay Jal Nigam and Pay Jal Sansthan, District Magistrate (Nainital) and Member Secretary of Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board in the sum of Rs 10,000 each to the satisfaction of the arresting officer….,” it said and posted the matter for July 4.

The green panel said the issue relates to a serious matter of dealing with sewage that was generated in various towns and one of the fundamental source of pollution of river Ganga was discharge of untreated sewage into it.

“If this is the attitude which the state of Uttarakhand proposes to deal with the matters of such serious source of environment, much need to be said as well as appropriate actions are required to be taken against the concerned authorities, since the records are necessary to be produced,” it said.

The bench also said these officials would also “show cause as to why costs for adjournments of the cases be not imposed personally upon the above officers and recovered from their salaries.

( Source – PTI )

Centre moves SC to modify its order on U’khand

Centre moves SC to modify its order on U'khand
Centre moves SC to modify its order on U’khand

The Centre on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking modification of its order on the issue of floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly, saying the official concerned has refused to act as observer on the ground that a clarification is needed on his designation.

 

Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the matter before a bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh while submitting that its May 6 order had mentioned the designation of the official as principal secretary(Legislative Assembly) which needs to be corrected to principal secretary (Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs).

 

The AG told the bench that the official concerned, who is of the rank of district judge, has written to the Centre that he would not act as observer unless a clarification comes from the apex court.

 

Senior advocates Abhishek Manusinghvi and Kapil Sibal, appearing for sacked chief minister Harish Rawat, opposed the plea of the Centre on the ground that the principal secretary (Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs) is a non-cadre post and no outsider can be allowed to participate in the proceedings of the House.

 

Sibal said that the post of principal secretary (Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs) comes under the state government.

 

The bench said it will take up the matter at 12.30 pm.
( Source – PTI )

Ukhand HC rejects plea of disqualified Cong MLAs

Ukhand HC rejects plea of disqualified Cong MLAs
Ukhand HC rejects plea of disqualified Cong MLAs

The Uttarakhand High Court today dismissed the petition of nine rebel Congress MLAs challenging their disqualification, holding that by their conduct they have “voluntarily given up membership of their political party”, implying that they can be disqualified on that ground.

“This court, subject to scrutiny of Speaker’s action on the principles of natural justice, therefore, holds that the ingredients of paragraph 2 (1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution are met against the petitioners.

“By their conduct, it has been established that they have ‘voluntarily given up membership of their political party’, even if they have not become members of any other political party,” Justice U C Dhyani said in his 57-page judgement.

He was giving a verdict on the two writ petitions filed by the nine MLAs against Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal in disqualifying them for joining hands with BJP MLAs against the Congress government headed by Harish Singh Rawat.

( Source – PTI )

Floor test in U’khand to be held on May 10: SC

Floor test in U'khand to be held on May 10: SC
Floor test in U’khand to be held on May 10: SC

The Supreme Court today ordered a floor test on May 10 in the Uttarakhand Assembly when sacked Chief Minister Harish Rawat will seek a vote of confidence in which the nine rebel Congress MLAs cannot participate if they continue to remain disqualified at the time of voting.

A specially convened two-hour-long session during which the President’s Rule will be kept in abeyance will be held between 11 AM and 1 PM for a “single agenda” of floor test, a bench of Justices Dipak Misraand Shiva Kirti Singh said.

The Bench took a decision to keep away the rebel Congress MLAs from participating in the floor test by observing that “if they (disqualified MLAs) have the same status” at the time of vote of confidence, they cannot participate in the House.

Significantly, the MLAs’ plea against the disqualification is pending before the Uttarakhand High Court which is likely to hear the matter tomorrow.

The apex court said, “However, our observation in praesenti will not cause any kind of prejudice to the merits of the case of disqualified Members of Legislative Assembly, which is sub-judice before the High Court.”

This probably leaves scope for the MLAs to participate if the High Court gives some relief to them.

The bench made these observations after recording the submission of senior advoate C A Sundaram, appearing for the disqualified MLAs.

“His (Sundaram) submission is that the disqualified Members should be allowed to vote, though their votes may not be counted as long as the disqualification remains. This Court cannot direct them to participate in the Assembly. We say no more on this score,” the bench said.

The proceedings were directed to be “video-graphed” by the apex court which said the confidence vote will take place by division under the watch of the Principal Secretary, Legislative Assembly.

The top court said before the floor test will be initiated, the President rule will be kept in abeyance from 10:30 AM to 0100 PM and during that period the Governor shall remain in-charge of the State.

It said the result of the voting shall be placed before it at 10:30 AM on May 11, 2016, in a sealed cover by the Principal Secretary, Legislative Assembly who will come with the documents in a sealed cover and the video recording of the proceedings.

At present, in the 70-member assembly, BJP has 28 MLAs, Congress has 27, BSP has 02, while there are three independent MLAs and one belongs to Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) lawmaker.

Nine rebel Congress MLAs have been disqualified by the Speaker. One BJP MLA, B L Arya defied the party whip and voted with the government on the Appropriation Bill on March 18.
While passing the order, the bench noted the submission

of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the Centre has no objection to have a floor test of the Assembly.

“Counsel appearing for both the sides have debated over the suggestions that have been given by the Court, as well as by each other, sometimes with appreciable amity and sometimes with some cavil, but, eventually, there has been an agreement,” the bench observed.

Taking on record the submission of the Attorney General, the bench said “we state it with uninhibited appreciation at our command that the floor test should be conducted under the supervision of this Court.”

The Attorney General and senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for Rawat, had agreed on 12-point modalities for holding the floor test.

The Congress had differed with Rohatigi’s suggestion that the confidence vote be conducted by appointing an observer, who could be a retired Chief Election Commissioner or a retired judge as it would compromise the autonomy of the House.

( Source – PTI )

SC favours 2005 Jharkhand for floor test in U”khand

SC favours 2005 Jharkhand for floor test in U''khand
SC favours 2005 Jharkhand for floor test in U”khand

The Supreme Court today suggested that it may order a ‘composite floor test’ for Uttarakhand Assembly as was directed by the apex court in 2005 in Jharkhand when BJP leader Arjun Munda had challenged the government formation by JMM supremo Shibu Soren.

“The floor test (in Uttarakhand Assembly) can be on Jharkhand Model,” a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh.

While senior advocate Kapil Sibal and Abhishekh Manu Singhvi, appearing for sacked Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, was advocating that the floor test in the assembly would be like a vote of confidence for him, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was toeing the bench’s suggestion and submitted that it can be decided after a debate when the matter is taken again on Friday.

The apex court on March 9, 2005 had passed the order for Jharkhand Assembly on the line of its earlier order for a composite floor test in Uttar Pradesh in 1998.

It had directed the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police to “see that all elected MLAs attended the proceedings of the Assembly freely, safely and securely without any interference by anybody”.

In the Jharkhand matter, Rohatgi had then appeared for Munda as a senior advocate and Singhvi had represented the then state government which was formed after the then Governor Syed Sibtey Razi had invited Soren to form the government despite the claim of the NDA to have majority support.

The order, in which the apex court had also directed video-recording of the proceedings of the floor test, had evoked mixed reaction from the legal experts as some had favoured the recording while others had raised eyebrows saying that it amounts to judicial over-reach and encroaching the domain of the Speaker or the pro-tem Speaker.

The apex court in the Jharkhand case had also advanced the date of floor test to March 11 from March 15 to determine who – UPA nominee Shibu Soren or NDA’s Arjun Munda – commands majority in the House.

The top court had also stayed any move to nominate a representative of the Anglo-Indian Community as a Member of the House by saying this could wait till a “legitimate” government took over after the floor test on March 11.

The court had advanced the floor test date to March 11 wondering as to why the Governor had given five days more to the Soren government to prove its majority even though the MLAs were to take oath on March 10, 2005.

( Source – PTI )

SC asks AG about feasibility of holding floor test in U’khand

SC asks AG about feasibility of holding floor test in U'khand
SC asks AG about feasibility of holding floor test in U’khand

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to seek instruction on having a floor test in Uttarakhand where a major power tussle is underway between the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre and the Congress.

The apex court asked the Attorney General that there should be a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly under its supervision in view of the “Rameshwar judgement” and also asked the Centre to think about it.

Meanwhile, the hearing on the Centre’s plea against Uttarakhand High Court’s order revoking President’s rule in the state has been adjourned for tomorrow.

An apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had on April 27 directed the continuation of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand.

Posting the matter for further hearing on Tuesday, it had extended the stay on the High Court’s order quashing the central rule in Uttarakhand.

The two-judge division bench, comprising of Justices Dipak Mishra and Shiva Kirti Singh, had also asked several questions to the Centre asking it to justify imposition of President’s Rule.

The apex court sought to know if the Governor could have sent a message in the present manner under Article175 (2) to conduct a floor test and if delay in the floor test can be a ground for the proclamation of President’s Rule in the state.

The apex court asked if disqualification of MLAs by the Uttarakhand speaker is a relevant issue for the purpose of imposing President’s Rule under Article 356 and proceedings in the Uttarakhand assembly can be taken note of by the President for imposing his rule.

The Centre had imposed President’s Rule in the state on March 27.

( Source – PTI )

Rebel Cong MLA moves U’khand HC a’nst unseating

Rebel Cong MLA moves U'khand HC a'nst unseating
Rebel Cong MLA moves U’khand HC a’nst unseating

One of the nine disqualified Congress MLAs today filed an application before the Uttarakhand High Court seeking urgent hearing of his petition on the ground that he will “suffer irreparable loss and injury” if it is not heard immediately.

Rebel Congress MLA Umesh Sharma Kau, in his application moved before Justice U C Dhyani, has sought that his petition challenging his disqualification by the Speaker be taken up before May 6 and also be decided before the Supreme Court decides the President’s Rule case.

He has sought relief on the ground that the issues involved in the matter before the apex court have a “direct bearing” on the issues in his petition.

“That the special leave petition (SLP) against the divisional bench order against Article 356 hearing is to start from May 3, 2016 and the matter in the SLP has a direct bearing with the issue involved in the present writ and as such it is necessary that the present writ be decided before the decision in the SLP pending in the apex court,” the application said.

Another ground on which the relief has been sought is that the apex court will close (for holidays) from May 14 onwards and if any order is passed by the Uttarakhand High Court in the petition before it, “it will affect rights of either party to approach the apex court in time”.

The application also said,”That in the interest of justice and equity it is expedient and necessary that the Court may graciously be pleased to hear the writ petition as early as possible, preferably before May 6, 2016. Otherwise, the petitioner will suffer irreparable loss and injury.”

The High Court yesterday had yesterday listed for May 9 the pleas of all the nine dissident Congress MLAs challenging their disqualification by Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal under the anti-defection law.

The court had passed the order after hearing brief arguments made on behalf of the Congress Chief whip and complainant, Indira Hridayesh, and the nine dissident MLAs of the party.

Counsel for the Chief whip had told the court that the nine rebel MLAs had neither in their plea challenging their disqualification nor before the Speaker had said they were willing to support another Congress government under a different Chief Minister.

The lawyer had also contended that the rebel MLAs were not denied natural justice and that the Speaker’s order was not passed in haste.

( Source – PTI )