NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi for not taking enough effective measures to handle the garbage issue despite having powers over the municipal corporations.
The Supreme Court today said "mountains of garbage" in Delhi indicate that the city is facing a grave situation and slammed the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) for not taking appropriate action on the issue of solid waste management.
A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta snubbed the L-G after his affidavit asserted that the municipal corporations of Delhi were answerable to him and said, "You say I have the power, but you do not want to do anything. You think you are superpower; I am responsible but nobody can question."
Referring to the "mountains of garbage" at the three landfill sites Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhalswa-- the court said no action has been taken by authorities, including the office of the L-G due to which Delhi was facing the serious problem.
The observations came when Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand refused to commit on a timeline to clean the garbage.
"You say the corporations are answerable to you. Tell us within how much time will you clear the sites. Why should the corporations be asked? You are the L-G. You should have found out by now," the bench said.
The office of L-G and Delhi government told a bench comprising justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that municipal corporations have the responsibility to deal with the issue of solid waste management.
"This is nothing but passing on the buck," an anguished bench said.
The court's remarks come in the wake of a turf war between L-G Anil Baijal and AAP government in Delhi.
The bench also termed as "utopian" the 'state policy on solid waste management strategy' which has been framed by the L-G office and observed that perhaps it would be impossible to implement as the East Delhi Municipal Corporation and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation don't have funds to carry out their day-to-day affairs.
The bench directed the office of the L-G to file an affidavit by July 16 indicating the time frame on the steps it is supposed to take to deal with the situation.
The Delhi government and the L-G also informed the bench that the L-G has the power to issue directions to authorities concerned under the provisions of Delhi Municipal Corporation Act on disposal of solid waste.
The court had on Tuesday asked the L-G to inform it who was responsible for clearing of the three mountains of garbage (landfill sites) at Okhla, Bhalswa and Ghazipur in the national capital. It had observed that due to the loads of garbage in Delhi, people were getting infected by dengue, malaria and chikungunya, while Mumbai was sinking under heavy rainfall.
The top court's direction came days after its verdict on the power tussle between the Lieutenant Governor and the Aam Aadmi Party government in which it held that the L-G has no independent power to make decisions and is bound by the elected government's aid and advice.
It had also slapped fines on 10 states and two union territories for not filing their affidavits on their policies for solid waste management strategy.
On March 27, the top court had said that days are not far when garbage mounds at the Ghazipur landfill site in Delhi will match the height of the iconic 73-metre high Qutub Minar and red beacon lights will have to be used to ward off aircraft flying over it.
(with PTI inputs)