The Supreme Court on Tuesday demanded to know who was the authority responsible for garbage management in Delhi and asked the state government to file an affidavit fixing accountability for the Capital’s trash problem, PTI reported.
“Who is ultimately in charge of garbage management in Delhi?” asked the court in response to a petition. “Is it the office of the chief minister or lieutenant governor or the Centre?” The court said it was dismayed that more than two years after the Solid Waste Management Rules were incorporated, most state governments were yet to comply with them.
“The Solid Waste Management Rules came into force on or about April 8, 2016. We are two years down the line, but we are shocked to know that more than two-third of the States/UTs in the country have not yet complied with the basic requirement of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016,” the bench said.
A bench of justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta ordered 10 states and two union territories to pay fines for not filing affidavits on their policies for solid waste management strategy. “You see, Delhi is getting buried under mountain loads of garbage and Mumbai is sinking,” the bench said. “But yet, the government does not do anything. When the courts intervene, we are attacked for judicial activism. We are given lectures on separation of powers and encroachment of jurisdiction.”
While the Aam Aadmi Party leads the government in Delhi, all the civic bodies are under the control of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In the last few years, there have been several instances sanitation workers going on strike for long periods to protest against unpaid wages among other things. As mounds of garbage pile up, AAP leaders blamed the BJP-led municipal corporations, while the BJP accuses the Delhi government of “playing politics” and not releasing funds.
The court ordered the governments of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Punjab, Lakshadweep and Puducherry to pay Rs 1 lakh each for failing to meet the deadline to file the document. The governments have to pay the fine within two weeks from Tuesday.
It also ordered a fine of Rs 2 lakh each on the “remaining defaulting states/Union Territories” whose lawyers were also not present during the hearing. It scheduled the next hearing for August 7.