Deposit Rs 50 lakh for damaging storm water drains, DDA told
New Delhi, Aug 13 : The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Development Authority to deposit a sum of Rs 50 lakh, as environmental compensation, with the state pollution control board for allegedly damaging storm water drains on a city road.
The court also issued notice to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, seeking its response on the DDA's plea and listed the matter for November 20.
The orders were passed while the bench was hearing a petition filed by the DDA challenging the imposition of an environment damage compensation of Rs 50 lakh against it for allegedly damaging the storm water drains installed on the Samalkha-Dwarka Road in southwest Delhi.
The land-owning authority, in its petition filed through advocate Deeksha L. Kakar, has sought quashing of the July 10 communication issued by the DPCC, imposing environmental compensation of Rs 50 lakh upon it, after holding it responsible for damaging the environment (ground water quality) in the storm water drains installed on the Samalkha-Dwarka Road.
The DDA argued that the DPCC decision under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 read with the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, was "illegal, arbitrary and unreasonable".
It further said that the communication is "patently illegal, unsustainable, without application of mind, arbitrary, without merit and unconstitutional and liable to be quashed".
"The DDA respectfully submitted that it is settled law that unless there is a specific provision in the statute enabling the authority to levy a penalty, it cannot levy any penalty or damages with reference to the general powers provided under the Act," read the petition.
Advocate Kakar also argued that neither the Environment Act nor the Water Act provide for a specific power enabling the DPCC to impose a penalty or compensation of such nature and no justification has been given for the quantification of the "exorbitant amount" of Rs 50 lakh levied on the DDA.
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