Illegal industrial units discharging poisonous substances is “worse than genocide” or a war crime, the Delhi High Court said today. “This is a murderous attack on the life of people. They are suffering from cancer. It’s very unfortunate that no one is taking it seriously,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said. The observation came during the hearing of a PIL it had initiated on its own on a news report highlighting the release of carcinogenic bye-products into the groundwater by the illegal dyeing units at Shiv Vihar in Northeast Delhi.
The report had referred to the death of two persons on account of pollutants they had imbibed from the water, polluted by non-conforming industries there. Asking the CBI to place their status report in the matter by October 30, the bench said “genocide is a war crime, but this is worse than that.” “Because of callous disregard of the law, we have reached here. Young people are at the (advanced) stage of cancer. It is very unfortunate,” the bench said and asked the advocate for the civic bodies: “what will happen to their families which have at least four members each … it is a horrible state of affairs”.
The court had earlier said the CBI, after completing the investigation, shall proceed in accordance with law against all persons or authorities found responsible for the commencement and continuance of the illegal activities. The CBI today submitted that they have served a notice on the MCD and Delhi government officials, but they have neither turned up, nor filed their replies. Pursuant to the CBI’s submission, the bench rapped the East Delhi Municipal Corporation for not providing details of its officials posted in Shiv Vihar to the probe agency and said, “needless to say this matter requires no delay”.
It directed the civic bodies to ensure that no illegal industrial or commercial activities are permitted to run in Delhi.
“All the civic agencies shall ensure closure of illegal industrial units in the city,” the bench said and asked the authorities to furnish physical inspection reports of such units running here. The court, while terming as an “eye opener” the media report titled “Is blue the colour of death in Delhi’s ‘cancer colony’?”, had on May 25 directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry into flourishing of illegal industrial and commercial activities in the area. Many other east Delhi residential areas such as Mustafabad, Seemapuri and Seelampur are similar hotbeds of polluting units. After high court took up the matter, EDMC claimed it had closed down 54 units in Mustafabad.