DB directs Vice Chairman LAWDA to draw a complete scheme for management and development of Dal


Srinagar, Apr 5: In a public Interest Litigation regarding for Dal Lake cleanliness, A Division Bench of Jammu & Kashmir High Court Comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul directed the Vice Chairman LAWDA to draw a complete scheme for the management and the development of the Dal as well as the area around it in co-association with the various departments and to submit the same before the Court by the next date after supplying the copy of the same to the Amicus Curiae and other parties concerned.
DB also directed the Vice Chairman to survey and prepare a list of all the drains that are flowing into the Dal and to take immediate steps that the drain water and the affluents are not discharged into the Dal and proper arrangements are made by the Department concerned for the treatment of the sewage or the drain water in sufficient number of plants established at proper places.
DB further ordered that an exercise may also be undertaken to find out if the waste material from any houseboat is being discharged into the lake and if so, to take measures to stop it or to divert it to some alternative place.
DB further ordered that the LAWDA would formulate a scheme for the development and the beautification of the Char Chinar and to ensure the security thereon. DB said that appropriate measures are also required to be taken for the traffic management in and around the Dal area, especially on the Boulevard Road and the Jetty at Nehru Park.
DB further said that it is emphasized that in line with the earlier orders, no construction activities in the Dal or in the area of the Dal or the prohibited area shall be permitted subject to the condition as may have been imposed from time to time and steps would be taken for the removal of all the encroachments.
DB also directed that the Advocate General would supervise all the above exercise to be undertaken by the LAWDA and ensure that a proper scheme and the road map is presented before the Court by the next date. When the PIL Came-up for hearing, Division Bench observed that this PIL had been initiated on the basis of a letter of one Syed Tahir Geelani, one of the students of 6th Semester LLB, University of Kashmir, Srinagar.
The said letter highlights miserable condition of various water bodies and lakes which at one time were the lifeline of the Valley/Srinagar city.
DB observed that ever since the initiation of the proceedings, various orders have been passed and even Committees have been appointed to supervise the cleaning and upkeep of the lakes, especially the Dal.
DB further observed that one of the orders on record dated 10.7.2020 classifies the various issues which require consideration and some of the issues are Cleanliness of Dal; flow of sewage/liquid waste into Dal; solid waste management in and around the Dal; the responsibilities of the Tourism Department vis a vis the development of the tourist and recreational spots; responsibilities of Lakes & Waterways Development Authorities (LAWDA) as well as the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, concerning the area around the Dal, its maintenance and creation of public facilities; management of problems concerning house boats and their owners; removal of unauthorized constructions and stoppage of encroachments on the area of the Dal; & identification and development of the rehabilitation Location (s).
DB observed that the matter was taken up on 31.03.2021 when on intervention of the learned Advocate General, it was posted for today to enable the vice Chairman of the LAWDA to personally apprise the Court how the authority proposes to tackle the above issues.
DB after hearing Sr. Adv Z.A.Shah, who is acting as Amicus Curiae and the Advocate General Sh. D.C.Raina for a considerable length of time. Shri Tufail Matto-Vice Chairman of the LAWDA, observed that the Vice Chairman emphasizes that taking care of weeds in the Dal lake is a top priority for which one weeding machine of the highest standard has been purchased but the authority requires, at least, one more machine for cleaning of the lake.
DB observed that notwithstanding the submissions made by the respective parties, we find that the various Committees which have been formed earlier are not of much use in the present and that when a development authority has especially been created and established for the purpose, the entire responsibility should be shifted upon it and the authority alone should be allowed to work out a broad scheme for solving all the problems as highlighted above in connection with the Dal.
Upon this Division Bench directed that all the Committees that may have been created in the past in relation to this litigation stand disbanded and if necessary fresh committee or committees would be constituted, if necessary in future. DB observed that one Amicus Curiae Sh. Zaffar Shah, Sr. Counsel is sufficient to assist the Court and he is permitted to have the assistance of any one of his colleagues, if necessary. In case there is any other person appointed as an Amicus Curiae in this litigation his appointment would be treated to have come to an end with immediate effect.
During the course of hearing Division Bench observed that it the vehicles are being detained and seized only on the ground of disobedience of an order of the public servant i.e., of the court in the present case under Section 188 of RPC which is pari-materia with Section 188 of IPC. However, Section 188 do not specifically provides for the seizure and therefore the seizure is only on account of the directions given by this Court in the present PIL.
DB further observed that a Division Bench of Jammu Wing of this court in PIL No. 19/2012 and 7/2014 wherein applications for release of vehicles were being filed on account of their seizure for unauthorizedly carrying minor minerals without proper permission vide order dated 9th February 2021 has directed that all applications for the release of vehicles shall be moved before the competent Magistrate who shall deal with those applications independently on merits on the analogy of the provisions of Section 457 of the Code of Criminal Procedure but shall not release any vehicle without realizing the composite amount of Rs. 50,000/- in the case of first time violation and Rs. 1.00 lacs in the case of second time violation and to confiscate if the offence is repeated for third time and not to release it until the completion of the investigation pursuant to the FIR or the trial thereof.
DB accordingly ordered that since the matter of release of vehicle is a Magisterial act and is dependent upon the outcome of the FIR lodged against the driver/owner of the vehicle, we provide that henceforth all applications for the release of vehicles seized for carrying building material for violation of the directions of this court, would be filed before the concerned Magistrate who is dealing or is supposed to deal with the investigation pursuant to the relevant FIR, but he shall not release it without asking for security of Rs. 50,000/- in the case of first offence, Rs. 1.00 lacs in the case of second offence and that in the event the offence is repeated for the third time, the vehicle shall not be released until and unless the final report is submitted and accepted of the accused is acquitted in the trial.

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