A city court has sent a bakery unit owner to jail for two years and slapped a total fine of Rs 3.5 lakh on him for discharging untreated waste into the Yamuna.
A city court has sent a bakery unit owner here to jail for two years and slapped a total fine of Rs 3.5 lakh on him for discharging untreated waste into the Yamuna, saying such an insensitive approach has led to pollution in the river.
It is only because of the insensitivity of the people like the bakery unit owner that “the current generation is unable to have a pure and clean Yamuna and thus is deprived of the use of natural resources,” the court said, adding that the appellant had “not cared for the principle of intergenerational equity.”
Awarding the jail term to Vikas Bansal and imposing Rs 2.5 lakh as environment compensation on him to be paid to the Prime Minister’s relief fund on Vikash Bansal, Special Judge Sanjay Kumar Aggarwal said the Delhi-based bakery unit Haryana Paneer Bhandar, in which he was a partner, had polluted Yamuna by discharging untreated waste in it.
The court additionally imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on Bansal, holding him guilty under various provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974.
Highlighting the principle of intergenerational equity, the court said it was the onerous duty of citizens to pass on the natural resources to their next generations.
“Rivers are considered as sources of life in this agrarian country. The rivers have cultural, spiritual and religious connotations. However, it is also a fact that we are unable to ensure the physical protection of rivers owing to industrialisation, urbanisation etc,” the court, in its 44- page judgement, said.
The victims of pollution of sacred water bodies are not individuals but collective members of the society at large, it said.
“Since the society has suffered due to polluting the stream and consequently river Yamuna …, it would be appropriate to consider the aspect of compensation in addition to sentence of imprisonment and fine,” the court said.
The sessions court, however, reduced the jail term to two years from three years awarded to Bansal earlier by the magisterial court.
A vigilance squad of the Delhi government had on June 5, 2000, inspected the bakery unit of Bansal which was used to prepare sweets and namkeens and found that it was discharging all untreated effluents generated during the process into the public sewer.
Bansal had questioned the inspection and claimed that when the standards for proper discharge of effluents were issued on June 21, 2000, how could his unit commit an offence when the inspection had been carried out on an earlier date of June 5.
The court dismissed his claim and said that the apex court has time and again for several years sensitised such units about the rise in pollution.