The National Green Tribunal today pulled up the Delhi government for not exploring alternative sites to Jantar Mantar for allowing protests after a plea alleged that massive noise pollution was caused due to the agitations. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said that various courts have passed orders from time to time for relocating the venue to some other place but nothing has been done till date. It asked the AAP government to look into the possibility of shifting the venue to Ramlila Maidan, which is also used for holding major political rallies and meetings.
“Have you ever visited Jantar Mantar? Have you ever seen the condition and plight of the residents in that area. Why don’t you do something. You have laws in place. “Supreme Court and Delhi High Court has already passed orders on this issue. Why don’t you implement them on the ground? What compliment you want to earn from the world. Why don’t you shift them to some other alternative place,” the bench said.
The green panel said people were living there for months even though they are not part of the agitating lot and moreover there are stalls which provide food to protesters and “business” was being run there. During the hearing, Delhi government lawyer told the bench that they were ready to shift the site for protests to some other place as the police officials of the nearby Tilak Marg police station too face problems and they are not able to reach their office.
He submitted that the authorities keep a regular vigil on the protests and whenever there is any violation of the noise standards, they immediately take action. The observations came while hearing a plea filed by Delhi resident Varun Seth and others who had alleged that processions and agitations held by social groups, political parties, NGOs at Jantar Mantar road were a major source of noise pollution in the area.
The plea had said that regular dharnas violate their right to live in a peaceful and healthy environment, “right to silence, right to sleep and right to life with dignity.” They had also claimed that despite law being in place which does not allow noise to cross 40 decibels, they have to bear loudspeakers which sometimes go up to as high as 300 decibels.