The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognisance of the Yamuna river getting polluted, and appointed senior advocate Meenakshi Arora as amicus curiae in the matter, reported Bar and Bench. The development came during the hearing of a petition by the Delhi Jal Board against the Haryana government’s action of alleged dumping of untreated discharge in the river that has caused a rise in ammonia levels in the water body.

Arora, who represented the Delhi Jal Board, contended that the increase in ammonia in the river was making the Yamuna water unfit for consumption, and increasing the risks of cancer. The three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice SA Bobde, registered a suo motu case to tackle the larger matter of pollution of the Yamuna river, and asked Arora to assist the court.

“Yesterday the level of ammonia was six and therefore, after an emergency meeting...had to issue notices to 38 areas of North and South Delhi saying that there will be shortage of water,” Arora submitted in court, according to Live Law. “Ammonia when mixed with chlorine will cause cancer. We cannot let the citizens die. How can the State of Haryana lower pollution.”

Arora also told the court that the “problem with Haryana is that their Sewage Treatment Plant system doesn’t work”. “The plants, particularly those at Chandrawal, Wazirabad and Okhla, have often been forced to operate at only 50% capacity or lesser due to the extremely high ammonia levels in the water,” the plea argued, reported Live Law.

Following Arora’s submissions, the court asked her to serve papers on the respondents, and posted the matter for hearing on January 19.

“We are issuing notice without argument,” the bench, which also comprised Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said, according to PTI.