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DPCC’s blanket order imposing environmental damages on Mayapuri traders impermissible: HC

New Delhi, Apr 26 () The Delhi High Court on Friday said that prima facie it finds “impermissible” the DPCC’s blanket order imposing Rs 1 lakh each as damages on over 800 traders for allegedly causing pollution by engaging in scrapping activity in west Delhi’s Mayapuri.

The court said the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) passed the blanket order of imposing environmental damage charges without even identifying the units or any material and said its interim order directing the DPCC not to take any coercive step against over 800 traders will continue till the next date of hearing on May 22.

“It appears the NGT (national green tribunal) had directed that action be taken against polluting industries. However, it is apparent that the said direction was not complied with,” Justice Vibhu Bakhru said.

The court was hearing pleas by several traders operating in Mayapuri industrial area, challenging the DPCC’s April 2 order imposing damages on them.

The court said that just to show compliance, the DPCC passed the blanket order without even identifying any particular unit polluting the environment.

“Prima facie this court is of the view that the blanket order which was passed without identifying the units and any material is impermissible,” it said.

It also said the contention of DPCC, that its April 2 order asked the traders to pay environmental damage charges of Rs 1 lakh each was passed in pursuance to the NGT’s order, is prima facie unmerited.

The court said that pursuant to the NGT’s order, it is refraining from passing any order at this stage and clarified that pendency of the petitions here will not preclude the tribunal from passing any direction or considering the validity of the order passed by DPCC.

“We will see what we have to do with such blanket order,” the judge remarked.

Violence broke out in the area on April 13 when officials reached the area along with a large contingent of police and paramilitary forces to carry out a sealing drive.

The traders’ lawyers had earlier claimed that they run motor parts shops in the area and were not indulging in any polluting activities.

They also said no show cause notice was issued to the traders before imposing the penalty.

Earlier this month, the DPCC had said in a statement that the industries carrying out scrapping activity inside or outside Mayapuri industrial area have been levied the penalty. The action follows the guidelines of the NGT, it had said.

The committee had also levied an environmental compensation fine of Rs five lakh each on the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the public works department (PWD) and the district-level monitoring committee after a news report highlighting dumping of biomedical waste in Barapullah drain was published, it had said in the statement.

The sealing drive on April 13 was conducted by the DPCC, which was acting on directions of the NGT.

The tribunal had asked regulatory authorities to ensure closure of “illegal and unauthorised scrap industries in Mayapuri… generating chemicals, oils and poisonous fumes resulting in air pollution, deaths and diseases in Delhi.” SKV RT

News credit : Indiatimes