Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the authorities concerned to comply with its directions since 2002 on restoration of Dal lake, the flagship of Kashmir’s tourism.
The court had issued 19 directions in the first hearing of a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Syed Iqbal Tahir Geelani, then a law student, on July 19, 2002. Subsequently, many more directions were passed by the court from time to time in last 12 years which have cumulated into numerous volumes.
“Neither those 19 directions nor subsequent directions have been complied with till date,” amicus curie and senior advocate Zaffar Shah informed the division bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Hasnain Massodi while hearing the PIL.
“The simple fact of total number of hoteliers discharging effluents in the lake has not been clarified nor it has been reported as to how many outlets are diverted to the STPs so that the effluent discharged by such outlets is properly treated before its discharge into the lake,” Shah said.
“Entirely agreeing” with Shah, the court directed that the authorities must comply with all the directions issued by it since July 19, 2002.
“A detailed report by every one of them shall be filed so that this PIL may be taken to its logical end,” the bench said, posting the PIL for April 28.
In the last many orders, the related issues concerning Dal have been dealt with under separate headings and sub-headings by the bench. One of the issues identified relates to polythene and polythene carry bags, reflected in July 4, 2013, August 14, September 26, and November 4 orders.
In the November 4, 2013 order, while observing that unabated polythene use in the state despite ban presents a “horrible state of affairs,” the court had ordered to sternly deal with violators.
“Henceforth, any vehicle seized for carrying polythene and polythene material shall not be released until further orders of court. The violators shall be sternly dealt with for violating the court directions and the law,” the bench had directed.
After issuance of SRO-182 on June 18, 2008, manufacture, trade, transportation or use of polythene carry bags has became illegal in the state.
The bench had also asked all the District Magistrates to intensify the checking of polythene in the market. “In the process (of checking) when polythene bags are seized from shopkeepers or stockists, their particulars shall be submitted along with the status report so that they can be proceeded against for violating the court directions.”
Previously, the court also directed government to include one chapter to the syllabus of Class 8, 9 and 10 so that the ill-effects of polythene are made known to young and impressionable minds.
During one of the hearings, the government informed the court that it has spent over Rs 500 crore on the restoration of lake.
Among other directions, the court has asked Vice-Chancellor of University of Kashmir and SKUAST to submit suggestion based on research work to detail out the damage caused to Dal by discharge of effluents.
“Accordingly, we direct the SKUAST and the University of Kashmir to file their status report by answering the court query along with their suggestions based on the research work in the University.”
The court has also granted last opportunity to Vice-Chairman LAWDA to furnish details concerning measurement on the outer side and inner side of the lake before the next date of hearing. “Failing which (the Vice-Chairman) shall remain present in person.”
Advocate General M I Qadri with government advocate Shah Aamir were present for state while advocate Shah appeared as amicus curie to assist the court.