Coming down heavily on the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Delhi Police for failing to perform their statutory duties, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed immediate closure of units operating illegally and creating pollution, including unauthorised workshops, carrying out servicing, repair, denting, junk dealing and like activities in the Rohini area of Delhi.
The tribunal has also directed the DPCC, Delhi Police and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to pay environmental compensation of Rs. 50000 each for “damage to the environment by their persistent defaults and inaction towards violations of the rules and directions” issued by it. The tribunal has ordered the amounts to be recovered personally from the heads of the agencies liable, which has to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within a month.
The bench of Chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel , Justices Jawad Rahim and S.P. Wangdi, along with Expert Member, Dr. Nagin Nanda, passed the order on the Application of N.S. Yadav, a Delhi resident, who had claimed that illegal activities such as servicing, repair, denting, painting and junk dealing were being carried out by various unauthorized car workshops and car mechanics in the area near and around Chaudhary Brahm Prakash entry gate of village Nahar Pur and Bhagwan Ram Mandir Temple Complex in Rohini in spite of complaints to the DPCC and Delhi Police. The Applicant had sought closure of these activities.
The DPCC, in its reply, had admitted that the automobile servicing activities were being run in non-conforming areas, in violation of the Master Plan for Delhi 2021.
The Chief Secretary had also directed that action be taken against the violators of the MCD rules, in a meeting held on June 6, 2015.
The SHO of the concerned police station had also filed a status report before the tribunal on October 3, 2016 with the finding that 200 shops were illegally operating in the area. The SHO also stated in the report that the Applicant had an alternative remedy of approaching the Sub-Divisional Magistrate under Section 133 of the Cr.P.C. The status report filed in the matter by the Delhi Municipal Corporation stated that the duty of removal of encroachments was of Delhi Police.
“The resume of the above facts shows that it is undisputed that illegal activities are going on and there is total apathy on the part of the DPCC as well as the Police authorities in performing their duties. The said authorities have merely shifted the responsibility from one to the other,” the tribunal said in its order passed on October 4.
“According to DPCC, the responsibility is of the Delhi Police. According to the Delhi Police, the matter has to be dealt with by SDM under Section 133 Cr.P.C. This is nothing but avoiding the statutory and legal duties,” the green court observed.
Finding the instant matter identical to three matters dealt by it, the NGT has directed the Chief Secretary to submit action taken report within one month. The tribunal has also asked the Chief Secretary to call a meeting of the concerned authorities and direct an action plan to be prepared and implemented by a team comprising the concerned DCP, SDM and senior officer of the DPCC, besides conducting public hearing on the spot at least once a week.
The Chief Secretary has also been directed to indicate persons accountable for the repeated default and failures and take appropriate action against them under Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965.
The tribunal has called the matter for hearing on December 3.