In a major relief to the real estate sector, the Supreme Court on Wednesday lifted a ban on construction activities in Maharashtra and Uttarakhand. The top court had on Friday imposed a ban on construction activities in three states — Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh — citing their failure to frame a policy on solid waste management.
A bench led by Justice MB Lokur lifted the ban on the two states after the state governments informed it that they have framed a policy on solid waste management. The Maharashtra government said that its revised policy on solid waste management will be soon placed before the Cabinet for approval.
The top court lifted the ban on Uttarakhand after the state government emphasised on its need to carry out construction work in disaster-prone areas.
The Uttarakhand government had on Tuesday moved the top court seeking vacation of its order staying construction activities in some states and Union territories, saying it was facing a “crisis situation” due to artificial lake formation in the Tehri Garhwal area after huge landslides.
The counsel, appearing for Uttarakhand, told the bench that the stay on construction activities should be vacated so that relief measures can be undertaken as lives of people are at risk.
The apex court will next hear the case on September 11 when the Maharashtra government elaborates on its solid waste management plan.
The apex court on August 31 had castigated some states and Union territories, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh, for their “pathetic” attitude in failing to frame the state policy under the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016.
“In case the States have the interest of the people in mind and cleanliness and sanitation, they should frame a Policy in terms of the Solid Waste Management Rules so that the States remain clean. The attitude of the States/Union Territories in not yet framing a policy even after two years is pathetic, to say the least. Further constructions in the States/Union Territories are stayed until the policy is framed,” the Supreme Court observed in its order on August 31.
“The tragedy is that more than two-third of the States/Union Territories in the country have neither bothered to comply with the orders passed by the Court nor bothered to comply with the directions given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India,” the Supreme Court had observed then, calling it a “shocking state of affairs,” the top court stated.
While Andhra Pradesh was ordered to pay Rs 5 lakh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh were imposed costs of Rs 3 lakh each. The amount was asked to be deposited with the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee within two weeks and would be used for juvenile justice issues.
Other states, including Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Arunachal Pradesh, had deposited the costs imposed on them on July 10.
The issue of waste management had cropped up when the court was dealing with a tragic incident of 2015 in which it had taken cognisance of the death of a seven-year-old boy due to dengue in Delhi.