A division bench of the Gujarat high court, comprising Justices R K Abichancani and J R Vora, has pulled up officials of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (gpcb) for dereliction of duty. It directed the officials to take appropriate measures against industries violating environmental laws. Many industries in the state, especially in Vatva, Ankleshwar, Vapi and Nandesariari industrial areas are flouting guidelines and pumping effluents into the ground directly through borewells ( Down To Earth , Vol 8, No 7).
The direction was issued after after the assistant environment engineer of gpcb filed a petition that board officials have observed huge quantity of hazardous waste being dumped near Ramol village. The note prepared by the official also requested the court to take action against defaulting units and issue necessary direction to the Vatva Industrial Association to stop unauthorised movement and disposal of waste by its member units.
"It is the duty of the officers to ensure immediate action against such units that dump hazardous waste or release untreated effluents. It is not appropriate either for the gpcb or its officers just to point out those faults and wait for the court's direction,' the judges observed. The high court further stated that the authorities must take stringent action to combat pollution. The jurisdiction of the high court in such matters is to issue a mandamus, when there is a failure of duty and to command them to take to take action.
The bench said: "Here it was a reverse case. The assistant environment engineer, a responsible officer of the board, who is duty-bound to take action against the defaulting units, was asking the court to take steps to stop unauthorised disposal of hazardous waste. It is entirely for the board and its officers to find the culprits and take action.'