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Supreme Court directs strong action for solid waste management, pulls up states, authorities for ‘absence of initiative’

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Re: Outrage as Parents End Life After Child’s Dengue Death

December 12, 2017

The Supreme Court had taken up the matter Re: Outrage as Parents End Life After Child’s Dengue Death on the basis of the news report titled “Outrage as parents end life after child's dengue death” published in the Sunday Times of India dated September 13, 2015. On September 16, 2015, the Chief Justice of India had passed an order to treat it as a Suo Moto Public Interest Litigation.

In its most recent order on December 12, 2017, the court expressed displeasure and said that “it was quite clear that… there is no seriousness attached to the management of solid waste to the extent that even the State Legal Advisory Body (SLAB) – that had to be set up in each state – had not been set up and in some cases, where the Body has been set up, it has not even met once in six months.”

To this end, the court asked the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEF) to seek from all state governments within two weeks the details of the establishment of the SLAB, and subsequent action it had taken. It also urged the MEEF to “make it clear to the state governments that in case they do not provide full, correct and accurate information of the MOEF, they are likely to be burdened with very heavy costs”.

Further, the court observed that no steps had been taken to identify sites for setting up solid waste processing facilities, or ensure door-to-door collection of segregated waste and its transportation in covered vehicles to processing or disposal facilities – even though one-and-a-half years had gone by since the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, came into force.

Noting that there were ample funds for conducting these activities under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the court pulled up authorities saying, “It is quite clear that there is absolutely no shortage of funds, but there is only absence of any initiative or lack of willingness to take any positive steps for solid waste management.”

“It is time that some of these issues are looked at with all due concern and seriousness by the state governments, particularly in the context of the Swachh Bharat Mission,” the court added in its order.

The court requested Delhi health minister, Satinder Jain to urgently call a meeting of the parties within four weeks and ensure that the amicus curia, Colin Gonsalves is invited to participate in it.

“We expect a definite plan of action to be prepared as also a strategy for solid waste management in Delhi so that it can be replicated in other parts of the country. If the authorities in Delhi themselves take no interest, we are afraid that the model will be a complete failure,” the court said.

The matter is now listed for February 6, 2018. 

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Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.

HRLN is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.