Mumbai sinking, Delhi being buried under garbage, but govt does nothing: SC

Mumbai sinking, Delhi being buried under garbage, but govt does nothing: SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Delhi government to file an affidavit fixing accountability on the authority responsible for the Capital’s garbage problem.

The court was hearing a petition on garbage management, and wanted to know who was responsible.The bench said it was dismayed that more than two years after the Solid Waste Management Rules were incorporated, a majority of the state governments were yet to comply with the rules.

The Solid Waste Management Rules came into force on or about April 8, 2016. We are two years down the line, but we are shocked to know that more than two-third of the States/UTs in the country have not yet complied with the basic requirement of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016,” the bench said.

The top court slapped a fine of Rs one lakh each on Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Punjab, Lakshadweep and Puducherry for not filing the affidavit despite earlier directions.

The bench also slapped a fine of Rs two lakh each on “remaining defaulting states/UTs” whose lawyers were also not present in the court room during the hearing, without naming these states.

“One final opportunity is given to these States/UTs to comply with the laws governing India, failing which we may have to call the Chief Secretary of the concerned States/UTs to inform us why the laws governing India are not applicable to these States/UTs,” it said and posted the matter for further hearing on August 7.

It said that the costs should be deposited within two weeks from today with the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee for being used on juvenile justice issues.

The tragedy is that more than two-thirds of the States/UTs in the country have neither bothered to comply with the orders passed by the court, nor bothered to comply with the directions given by the ministry of environment, forests and climate change.

This is not only a tragic state of affairs but a shocking state of affairs, particularly since solid waste management is a huge problem in this country,” the bench said.

Every second day, we are attacked for judicial activism. Every now and then there is a statement that courts are resorting to judicial activism or encroaching upon the powers of the executive or the legislature. What should be do when nobody is working, it said.

The court observed that when the state governments do not obey the laws framed by Parliament, how will they care about the rules.