Environment- related offences/ crime: India

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Court judgements

2018: SC fines realtor ₹105cr for damaging environment

AmitAnand Choudhary, August 11, 2018: The Times of India

The Supreme Court came down heavily on Pune-based real estate company Goel Ganga Developers for causing environmental damage while building residential towers in violation of law and slapped a fine of Rs 105 crore but refused to order demolition of the buildings as possession of flats had already been given to home-buyers.

A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta granted the company six months’ time to deposit the

money before its registry and said all the assets of the company as well as its directors shall be attached if it failed to comply with its order.

The court said the construction done by the company was in violation of environment clearance given to the project and it had also expanded the built-up areas without permission. The company had built 738 flats and 115 shops on Sinhagad Road in Pune.

The court upheld the National Green Tribunal order which had concluded that the developer had violated law and slapped the fine. It said the company shall not be allowed to build the two buildings in which it was to construct 454 flats and directed it to return the money with interest at the rate of 9% per annum to buyers.

Prosecute officials who fail to punish polluters: SC

AmitAnand Choudhary, Prosecute officials failing to punish polluters, says SC, November 27, 2018: The Times of India

May Be Jailed Up To 5 Years And Also Fined

Government officials who fail to take action against polluters could soon face jail as the Supreme Court asked the Central Pollution Control Board to take steps to prosecute those responsible for lapses.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said erring officials should be brought to book for conniving with the culprits. It said such officials and government agencies should be prosecuted under Section 15 of Environment Protection Act which provides for punishment up to five years in jail.

The court’s directions came after CPCB sought the order so as to empower the board. The section says failure to comply with or contravention of provisions of the Act, or the rules framed under the law, would be liable for punishment by way of imprisonment or a fine of up Rs 1 lakh or both.

The Act says continued offences would lead to additional fine that may extend to Rs 5,000 for every day after the conviction for the first such failure or contravention of rules.

CPCB said it had already sent show cause notices to some government agencies.

2021: Mature trees can’t be cut for projects: SC

Dhananjay Mahapatra, February 19, 2021: The Times of India

The Supreme Court’s green bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it would ban felling of mature, beneficial trees for development work, including laying roads and setting up industries, and order inclusion of the value of trees, including its oxygen giving capacity, required to be cut down in the project cost.

After being informed by its committee that the true value of a tree with 100 years of life left would be around Rs 72 lakh, the bench of Justices Bobde, A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said, “We want to lay down some guidelines, or ‘Cognition Pathway’, so that the thinking of urban planners goes on that line. Certain species of trees and of certain age should never be cut down. We want to know from experts which are those types of trees which are most beneficial to mankind.”

The bench sought names of environmentalists from solicitor general Tushar Mehta, senior advocate A M Singhvi and lawyer Prashant Bhushan and posted the matter for Wednesday. Environmentalist Ranjit Singh appeared to be the court’s first choice. The proceedings are an offshoot of the committee set up by the SC to evaluate the true value of a tree, taking into account all its benefit.

The killing of environment- defenders

2014-17, in India and the world

The killing of environment- defenders in India and the world, 2014-17
From: May 16, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic  :

The killing of environment- defenders in India and the world, 2014-17

The states' performance

2014: Rajasthan, UP worst

The Times of India, Aug 20 2015

Trees and woods under attack

The city recorded the seventh-highest number of environment-related crimes in the country in 2014.Although it had only 41 cases, as against the worst performers Rajasthan (2,666) and Uttar Pradesh (1,442), none of the other Union Territories--including the densely forested and eco-sensitive islands of Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshadweep--reported a single forest-related offence. While Delhi Police officials said they will look into the complaints data to find out the nature of forest offences, forest department officials said the offences are mostly related to encroachments on forest land. For instance, the department itself filed 3-4 FIRs for illegal occupation of land by farmhouses inside the Asola-Bhatti sanctuary . The case is being heard by National Green Tri bunal. “We do not have the power to take criminal cases.Forest offences are criminal in nature and taken up by police,“ said an official, adding, “There must be several cases of encroachment on urban forests like Rajokri or Rangpuri.“

Officials said some of the cases might have been registered under Delhi Preserva ion of Trees Act. Even excessive pruning of trees is an offence under DPTA.

Another 12 cases were registered under Wildlife Protection Act as Delhi is a ransit hub for illegal trade n wildlife. “There are so many seizures of birds, snakes and other animals being traded or illegally transported here,“ said an official from the wildlife section of the forest department. But animal rights activists said the number of cases does not reflect the extent of the problem.

“Wildlife crime and trade are rampant in Delhi. Animal parts from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana are regularly transported and traded but the prosecution is so poor. Munias, endangered fish and turtles--all protected under the Act--are even home-delivered through online orders,“ said Gauri Maulekhi, member secretary , People For Animals (PFA).

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