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Deposit Rs 50 Lakh Environment Damage Compensation with DPCC, Delhi HC Tells DDA

Delhi High Court (Image: PTI)

Delhi High Court (Image: PTI)

The court also issued notice to DPCC, represented by Biraja Mahapatra, and sought its stand on the DDA's plea within four weeks.

The Delhi High Court has directed land owning agency, DDA, to deposit with pollution control body, DPCC, the environment damage compensation of Rs 50 lakh imposed on it for alleged water contamination of storm water drains on the Samalkha-Dwarka Road here. Justice Navin Chawla directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to deposit the amount with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) within two weeks from August 10 and added that the deposit would be subject to outcome of the plea moved by the land owning agency against the environment damage compensation imposed on it.

The court also issued notice to DPCC, represented by Biraja Mahapatra, and sought its stand on the DDA's plea within four weeks. With the direction, the court listed the matter for further hearing on November 20.

The order came on DDA's plea challenging DPCC's July 10 decision to impose environment damage compensation of Rs 50 lakh on the land owning agency for allegedly spoiling the water quality in the storm water drains installed on the Samalkha-Dwarka Road in south west Delhi. The DDA has contended that the July 10 order of DPCC was "illegal, arbitrary and unreasonable" as it does not have the jurisdiction to take such a decision.

"The impugned communication dated July 10 is patently illegal, unsustainable, without application of mind, arbitrary, without merit and unconstitutional and liable to be quashed by this Court," the DDA has said in its plea. The petition has contended that unless there is a specific provision in the statute enabling the authority (DPCC) to levy a penalty, it cannot levy any penalty or damages with reference to the general powers provided under the Environment Protection Act.

"It is respectfully submitted that in the present case, the respondent (DPCC) has levied the environmental compensation upon the petitioner (DDA) under the Environment Act read with the provisions of the Water Act.  "It is respectfully submitted that neither the Environment Act nor the Water Act provide for a specific power enabling the DPCC to impose a penalty or compensation of such nature. No justification has been given for the quantification of the exorbitant amount of Rs 50 lakh levied on the petitioner," the petition has said.

The DDA has also claimed that it has no control over the area in question — the Samalkha T-Point to Bharthal road i.e. Urban Extension Road (UER-II).  "The primary responsibility of disposal of the waste/surplus sewage flow discharge beyond the boundary wall of each complex on the road, is of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Jal Board," the petition has said.

It has also claimed that in terms of earlier directions issued by the National Green Tribunal, it had closed in December last year all the rainwater harvesting systems installed in storm water drains at Samalkha-Dwarka Road.

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