The Supreme Court yesterday castigated some states and union territories for "pathetic" attitude in not framing proper policy on solid waste management and stayed further constructions there till they brought it out.
Slapping varied fines on some state governments and union territory administrations, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and S Abdul Nazeer said "if they want the people to live in dirt, filth and garbage, what can be done then."
The court said it was "unfortunnate" that states and UTs, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh, had not yet framed any policy under the 2016 Solid Waste Management Rules, even after the passage of two years.
"In case the states have the interest of the people in mind and cleanliness and sanitation, they should frame a policy in terms of the Solid Waste Management Rules so that the states remain clean," the bench said.
"The attitude of the states/union territories in not yet framing a policy even after two years is pathetic, to say the least," the court said, adding, "Further constructions in the states/union territories are stayed until the policy is framed."
The issue of waste management had cropped up when the court was dealing with a tragic incident of 2015 in which it had taken cognisance of the death of a seven-year-old boy due to dengue in Delhi. The victim was allegedly denied treatment by five private hospitals here and his distraught parents had subsequently committed suicide.
At today's hearing, the court imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on Andhra Pradesh for not filing an affidavit as per the court's July 10 direction and observed that even the Centre was not aware whether the state had framed the policy.
The bench also slapped a cost of Rs 3 lakh each on Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and union territory of Chandigarh for not framing the state policy and not complying with its orders.
The court said the costs imposed on these states and union territory should be deposited with the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee in two weeks for its utilisation for juvenile justice issues.
It also noted that states including Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu and Arunachal Pradesh have deposited the costs imposed on them by the court on July 10.
The court had imposed the costs as some of the states had not filed affidavits while some of them were not represented through lawyers during the hearing on July 10.
At the hearing today, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, placed before the court the details received by the Centre from the states and UTs on solid waste management.
After perusing the details, it expressed anguish as to why some of the states have not done anything in this regard.
The counsel for Madhya Pradesh told the court that they had provided an action plan to the Centre on the issue along with their affidavit.
"State policy is something different. Action plan can have anything. You have to frame a state policy under the Rules," the bench observed.
Similarly, the Uttarakhand counsel also told the court that their action plan contained all the steps that they have taken in the matter.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on October 9.
The top court had earlier taken strong note of non-implementation of solid waste management rules in the country and observed that "India will one day go down under the garbage".
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