Environmental and wildlife degeneration is the most potent threat to human civilization: SC
NEW DELHI: Holding environmental degradation as the potential threat to human civilization, the Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned all authorizations granted for the construction of multi-storey housing projects near Chandigarh in which 95 MLA were to obtain the apartment.
In a setback for Tata Housing Development Company, which was to build a 28-story building on a total project area of 52.66 acres, the apex court overturned the decision of the Punjab government that had cleared the project despite the objection raised by the Chandigarh administration when the area falls within the catchment area of Lake Sukhna and is 123 meters from the limit of the Sukhna wildlife sanctuary. The project, which was launched in 2009, could not take off as it was immediately challenged in court.
Holding that the state of Punjab did not follow environmental laws during the cleanup of the project, a bank of judges Arun Mishra, M and BR Gavai said the government was unable to safeguard the ecosensitive area around the lake and the wildlife sanctuary of Sukna .
“Given the distance of 123 meters from the north side and 183 meters from the east side of the project in question from the wildlife sanctuary, in our opinion, it cannot be allowed to arise in the area in question. The State of Punjab was required to act on the basis of the Doctrine of public trust. He has failed to do so. The origin of the project itself indicates that the State of Punjab was not acting in support of the Doctrine of Public Trust, since 95 MLA would be the recipients of the apartments. It is clear why the Government has not been able to protect the ecosensitive area around a wildlife and has allowed the establishment of high-rise buildings of up to 92 meters in the area in question, which is not allowed at all, the bank said.
Noting that environmental and wildlife degeneration is the most powerful threat facing land and human civilization, the bank said the court has a step in such a scenario when authorities have failed to protect the wildlife sanctuary. “The entire exercise of obtaining authorization related to the project is canceled. We regret that such a scenario has arisen in the matter and that it involved a large number of MLA of the Legislative Assembly of Punjab. The whole exercise smells of arbitrariness by the government, including officials, ”he said.
“The need to protect the flora and fauna, which constitutes an important part of our ecosystem, is immediate. Development and urbanization at the cost of negatively affecting our natural environment will impact and be the cause of human devastation as seen in the 2013 and 2018 floods in Kerala. Climate change is impacting wildlife by interrupting the timing of natural events. With warmer temperatures, flowering plants bloom at the beginning of the year and migratory birds return from their wintering places in early spring, ”said the bank.
The trial court confirmed the Delhi HC verdict, which had also ruled against the housing project.