High Court directs DDA to deposit ₹50 Lakhs fine for Water Contamination

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The Delhi high court has directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to deposit ₹50 lakh with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) as a fine for the alleged water contamination of stormwater drains on the Samalkha-Dwarka Road in south-west Delhi.

Justice Navin Chawla directed the DDA to deposit the amount with the DPCC within two weeks of August 10 and added that the deposit would be subject to the outcome of the plea moved by DDA against the environmental damage compensation fee imposed on it.

The DDA had filed a plea challenging the DPCC’s July 10 decision to impose the environment damage compensation fee of ₹50 lakh on it for allegedly spoiling the water quality in the stormwater drain.

The DDA has contended that the July 10 order of DPCC was “illegal, arbitrary and unreasonable” as it does not have the jurisdiction to take such a decision.

The petition has contended that unless there is a specific provision in the statute enabling the authority (DPCC) to levy a penalty, it cannot levy any penalty or damages with reference to the general powers provided under the Environment Protection Act.

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The DDA has also claimed that it has no control over the area in question — the Samalkha T-Point to Bharthal road also knows as the Urban Extension Road (UER-II).

“The primary responsibility of disposal of the waste/surplus sewage flow discharge beyond the boundary wall of each complex on the road is with the South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Jal Board,” the petition has said.

The DDA has also claimed that in compliance with earlier directions issued by the National Green Tribunal, the DDA, in December 2019, had closed all rainwater harvesting systems installed in stormwater drains on Samalkha-Dwarka Road.

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While issuing a notice on the plea, the court posted the matter for further hearing on November 20.

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