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Environmental Pollution: NHRC issues advisory to Centre, states, UTs and high courts

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Ravi S Singh

New Delhi, May 18

The National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC) has issued an advisory to the Centre, states, Union Territories (UT) and high courts to prevent, minimise and mitigate impacts of environmental pollution and degradation of human rights.

Issuing the advisory, the Commission has observed that in spite of having one of the world’s best statutory and policy framework for environment protection, India is experiencing a serious problem of air and water pollution and ecological degradation causing impediments in the enjoyment of basic human rights.

The Commission has finalised the advisory in consultation with the domain experts by examining the effects of air and water pollution and ecological degradation on basic human rights.

In a letter to the secretaries of the concerned Union ministries/departments, chief secretaries of states, administrators of the UTs and the registrars of all high courts, the Commission has asked for the implementation of its recommendations in the advisory and sought Action Taken Report (ATR) within three months.

The advisory has recommended to the governments to ensure, among others, effective and expeditious punishment of polluters and violators of environmental laws.

These efforts should include strengthening of Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) and other regulatory authorities along with creation of separate investigation and prosecution wings.

It should be made mandatory for the PCBs to include in their annual reports a chapter containing details of case investigations.

The state governments should undertake annual performance audit of the State Pollution Control Boards by independent expert auditors.

The high courts should establish Special Environmental Courts and ensure speedy trial of the cases involving violation of environmental laws.

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