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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that no coercive action would be taken against the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) after the agency challenged the one crore environmental damage compensation levied on it by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Justice Vibhu Bakhru also sought the response of the CPCB on a plea by the DDA which contended that the fine imposed on them is “illegal”, “arbitrary” and “unsustainable”.

It is pertinent to mention that a fine of Rs 1 crore as environmental damage compensation was levied on the DDA by two letters issued by CPCB on February 20 and April 12. The pollution body had said that the land owning agency was responsible for open burning, dumping of plastic, construction and demolition waste and lack of regular sweeping on the roads in the area of Narela, Patparganj, Okhla Industrial Area.

The CPCB had also said that the DDA is non-compliant with the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

However, challenging this in the high court, DDA through its counsel contended that the CPCB does not have the power to levy any penalty or any environmental damage compensation under the relevant statues.

It said that the fine has been imposed in an “unreasonable manner” as they had furnished detailed replies to the communications sent by the CPCB have been “disregarded”. The plea also said that the pollution body did not specify the exact areas that fall under its control so as to enable them to respond to the letters with accurate information.

The land owning also said that it is taking various steps to curb the menace of pollution and supporting the civic bodies for this purpose.

“Petitioner (DDA) has been taking measures to combat the problem of dumping solid waste on vacant DDA plots and the relevant information was duly provided to the respondent (CPCB),” the plea read.

The matter would be now heard on September 6, 2019.

-India Legal Bureau

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