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Supreme Court asks NGT to monitor Yamuna clean-up

New Delhi : The Supreme Court has decided to transfer the task of cleaning the Yamuna River to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) after monitoring government efforts to clean the dirty river for over two decades.

A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud on April 24 took the view implementation of various projects to clean the Yamuna should be monitored by the NGT and referred the matter to the green tribunal. The bench was of the opinion that the NGT was already looking into the issue and there should not be parallel proceedings in the matter.

The apex court was concerned over growing pollution level in Yamuna despite efforts for the past over 20 years and spending around Rs 4,439 crore by various governments to clean the river. The SC had taken up monitoring of steps to reduce pollution in Yamuna on its own in 1994.

Between then and 2012, Uttar Pradesh has reportedly spent Rs 2,052 crore, Delhi and its civic bodies Rs 2,387 crore and Haryana has spent Rs 549 crore to clean the river. However, despite the Rs 5000-crore spent on Yamuna cleaning efforts, the river has become more polluted over the years.

“Having heard the counsel for rival parties and having perused the orders passed by the National Green Tribunal, we are of the view that there cannot be parallel jurisdictions to deal with the same issue,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court expressed satisfaction on the orders passed by NGT on cleaning of the river and said the current matter also fell under its jurisdiction.

However, if NGT was confronted with any Constitutional or legal issue which it cannot deal with, then Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae, can file an application before the apex court.

“In case the amicus curiae files any interim application, the registry is directed to proceed it before the court at the earliest,” the bench said.

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