The Supreme Court has pulled up the Centre for “making money” at the cost of citizens’ health by allowing dumping in India of hazardous waste from foreign countries. A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar termed the issue as “important” and said the authorities cannot bypass the regulations as the people of the country are facing the consequences.
“You (the Centre) are taking waste from other countries and allowing it to be dumped here. You make money out of it but the citizens of this country face the consequences,” the bench, also comprising Justices NV Ramana, DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul, said.
The apex court also refused to give much time to the Centre for filing a response to the plea seeking to curb the dumping of hazardous waste in India from other countries. “We are not going to let go this petition. This issue is so important. You cannot bypass the regulations. Please do something,” the bench said.
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The bench directed the government to file a consolidated affidavit after the petitioner consolidates all current issues pertaining to hazardous waste and furnishes a summary to the Centre. “You can examine the orders and see what is going on and then come with a consolidated affidavit. This is serious issue,” the apex court said and posted the matter for further hearing on March 31.
Advocate Sanjay Parekh, appearing for NGO Research Foundation for Science, claimed that authorities were giving permission and allowing disposal of hazardous and contaminated materials in India which is affecting the citizens’ health.
He argued that rules and norms were not being followed despite several directions by the apex court. Earlier, on the NGO’s plea, the apex court had denied permission to a foreign ship, which was involved in one of the worst-ever oil spills off Alaska in 1989, to anchor off the Gujarat coast for dismantling.
The NGO had alleged that the ship was contaminated and that the 1989 Basel Convention made it mandatory for a ship to be decontaminated at the port of the exporting country before being sent for dismantling. The Basel Convention had come up in 1989 following an outcry over toxic wastes being exported to the developing countries.