Srinagar: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Wednesday directed Government authorities to take appropriate steps for the implementation of Solid Waste Management Byelaws while also seeking details of the local bodies that are not adhering to these rules.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Environmental Policy Group (EPG) directed both the Government and the petitioner organisation to take appropriate steps in pursuant to the court order dated 24 July, 2021, within two weeks.
The court on the said date had directed counsel Shafqat Nazir, representing the EPG, to file an appropriate application with an affidavit stating the specific local bodies that were not adhering to the Rules and Byelaws. The court had passed the directions after the counsel said that Rules and Byelaws were not being implemented by J&K’s local bodies.
In response to the submission that Model Byelaws were not sufficient and that certain crucial aspects were left out, the Division Bench of Chief Justice and Justice Tashi Rabstan had said, “In such a situation, we require the counsel for the petitioner to first consider the Act, the Rules and the Model Byelaws and then to suggest the areas in which the same can be improved upon for the purposes of solid waste disposal”.
Notably, under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, and the Solid Waste Management Rules of 2016, the erstwhile J&K State had framed Solid Waste Management Byelaws in exercise of powers under Sections 36 and 25 of the Act in consultation with all the stakeholders. The Byelaws were notified by the Government on July 31, 2019.
According to the Byelaws, all local bodies are enjoined upon to take appropriate action for the disposal and treatment of solid waste material in J&K.
The PIL filed by EPG, a registered trust working on environmental issues in J&K, is seeking implementation of Solid Waste Management Byelaws. It alleges that health and hygiene are not up to the mark in J&K due to non-implementation of the provisions of the Solid Waste Management Rules.