NEW DELHI: Citing administrative issues, the Centre has approached the Supreme Court over giving status of a living human entity to the Ganga river following the Uttarakhand High Court order.
On March 20, the High Court had ruled that “Holy Rivers Ganga and Yamuna have been declared to be treated as living human entities”.
The Division Bench of justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh had mentioned the example of river Whanganui in New Zealand which has been given such a status with two legal parents. Soon after the ruling, several letters were exchanged between the State and Centre and after obtaining legal opinion, a Special Leave Petition has been filed seeking clarification of the High Court order.
The Centre in its plea stated that the High Court had erred in fixing the accountability of officials for the river.
As per the order, the chief secretary and the Advocate General would act as the legal parents of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers. The High Court had passed the order on a PIL filed by Haridwar resident Mohammad Salim, citing high levels of pollution and encroachment in the river and its tributaries.
Though the Ganga is the most sacred river of India over the time it has become one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Despite the government’s campaigns, including the Clean Ganga project and orders from courts to treat sewage and close polluting industries along its banks, the desired effect has yet to be achieved.