New Delhi, Jul 17 (ILNS) The National Green Tribunal has issued directions to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) (Regional Office, Chandigarh), the Chief Secretary, Environment Department, and the District Magistrate of Haryana to take remedial action against illegal mining by M/s D.S.P. Associates, Sonipat by diverting the natural flow of the river.
The Principal bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said “The mining was continuing for three years without any action by the statutory regulators which shows failure of the said system.The remedial action needs to be taken with the intervention of the higher authorities of the Government.”
The application has been filed by Krishan Chander against illegal mining by M/s D.S.P. Associates, Sonipat for diverting natural flow of river by digging a man-made pit of 20 ft. deep and 1 km long and making a bund to stop the natural river flow.
The applicant relied on the judgement of State (NCT of Delhi) v. Sanjay, (2014) 9 SCC 772, which held that apart from action under the mining laws, illegal mining involves an offence of theft which requires that the concerned police to take remedial action by registration of criminal case against the offenders.
In the course of arguments and assessment the tribunal found that all relevant factors have not been taken into account while fixing the compensation. Neither the cost nor an action plan for restoration of the river flow has been provided. Here the Principle of deterrence has also not been involved.
The tribunal disposed the application with certain directions- that the Chief Secretary, Haryana may review the existing monitoring mechanism in the light of facts disclosed in the present case and directions of this Tribunal on the subject.
The Committee already constituted, with the addition of Regional Officer, MoEF&CC, Chandigarh may revisit the compensation as per principles referred to above and give a report to the Chief Secretary, Haryana within two months for further follow up action in coordination with the concerned statutory authorities
The Chief Secretary may also look into the conduct of erring officers who failed to take action against illegal mining for more than three years and who gave a false report to this Tribunal earlier that there was no illegal mining.
The Environment Department, Haryana along with the District Magistrate, Sonipat may prepare and execute a restoration plan and the cost thereof may be met out of the compensation already recovered and which may be recovered further.
The Chief Secretary may ensure further legal action including prosecution and blacklisting of the unit involved in illegal mining to enforce the rule of law.
The amount to the credit of the Respondents available with the State may not be released till the decision of the Chief Secretary, Haryana/ILNS/GM/SNG