Application challenging the construction of retaining wall on the basin of river Mithi


Jalbiradari and Ors. vs. Union of India and Ors.  (Appeal No. 7 of 2015 at National Green Tribunal principal bench New Delhi) Synopsis:   The following appeal was filed before the National Green tribunal against the environment clearance  (EC) certificate dated 4th December 2012 issued to the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority. The EC was granted  for the construction of retaining wall on the basin of river Mithi. The Petition sought to challenge the activities of blasting which was leading to the serious damage to environment and biodiversity in the bed of river mithi and its surrounding. The appellant in its pray prayed for
  • the quashing of the Clearance certificate;
  • to stay the clearance certificate,
  • orders for demolition of retaining wall;
  • to restore the mithi river to its original position;
  • stoppage of blasting operation;
  • and restoration and restitution of the river.
  Status: Disposed with award of environmental compensation. An Appeal against this judgment to the Supreme Court has been filed by us and is pending.   Holding:   The Hon’ble court held the respondent liable and the clearance certificate was abeyance for a period of 4 month and ordered MoEF and EAC for an re-appraisal, if same not done within the said time the certificated is to be deemed quashed, the respondent were initial ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 25 lakhs which could be added up based on the report of SEIAA, order for demolishing the construction if necessary was given by the court. All the measures prescribed by the NEERI report was to be taken into consideration and the STP recommendation was ordered to be implemented by the BMC.  
  • The Respondent was held liable for environmental degradation and illegal blasting and at its initial was made liable to pay Rs. 25 lakhs as environmental compensation, subjected to final adjustment.
  • The order of Bombay high court dated 16th April 2009 was made as an integral part of the judgment and the authorities were ordered to regulate under direction given in PIL NO. 2116 of 2005, and PIL NO. 1137 of 2005, and PIL NO. 137 of 2005.
  • Recommendation made by NEERI refereed in Para 8 of the judgment shall be compiled without default and must be treated as the integral part of the judgment.
  • The project must be considered as it is by SEIAA and must formulate and impose condition as deemed necessary by the concerned authority. SEIAA shall take into measure the environmental and ecological damage by the project and suggest measures to be taken.
  • SEIAA shall also calculate the possible amount of compensation that must be paid by the respondent for violating the law, causing damage environment, ecology and biodiversity of river Mithi and its surrounding.
  • SEIAA shall also see if any part of the said project is to be demolished and to what extent.
  • SEIAA shall ensure the flow of river Mithi at its discharge point is protected and its flow is not affected due to construction.
  • CRZ clearance dated 4/12/2012 is kept abeyance for 4 months, and the MoEF EAC must see for the re-appraisal of the project asserting the factual physical progress and other reports of CWPRS and NEERI. MoEF EAC is also to visit the project site for a field inspection to verify the contentions raised in the following appeal and other PIL before any re-appraisal.
  • If any special report on additional safeguards, tidal exchange capacity, and flood flows, effect of blasting in the river bed, sedimentation, mud flats etc is required, the MoEF EAC is at the liberty to seek an independent report from the NEERI or CWPRS.
  • The decision on CRZ clearance must be taken by MoEF within next 4 month, if not the CRZ clearance will be deemed as quashed.
  • MoEF is to submit to this tribunal a detailed report on remediation on coast after measuring the damages within 4 months.
  • Complaints relating to destructions of mangroves, dumping of CRZ areas of Mithi river basin shall be investigated and strict action as per the direction of Hon’ble court must be taken by MCZMA.
  • The MCZMA and MCGM shall ensure that the area of Mithi River basin is regulates strictly as per CRZ notification and Hon’ble high court direction.
  • The directed IIT Bombay is to submit the final recommendation on reconciling IIT’s report of 2006 in next to month and BMC is to ensure that the work on STP’s commence in  next 6 months and completed in next 2 years.
  • As directed by the Hon’ble court by order dated 31st August 2005 action against the defaulters by MPCB/ MCGM within next 2 months.
  • MPCS is to ensure that BMC initiate SPT works within next six months, and if not MPCB can take necessary legal action against BMC as per direction of Hon’ble High Court
    Additional Remark: Instead of putting the certificate to abeyance the hon’ble court could have quashed the certificate and stopped all the illegal construction work carried out on the bed of river Mithi. Also a heavy fine could have been imposed on the respondent for the dumping of CRZ in to the bed of river mithi, damaging the mangroves and disturbing the environment and biodiversity of river Mithi and its surounding