Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 21
Litterbugs may soon find themselves in deep waters for leaving behind rubbish at Sukhna Lake. For, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today made it clear to the UT Administration that residents were required to be sensitised to the issue and asked not to litter the lake. The suggestion of penalising the litterbugs after the conclusion of the sensitisation period also found favour with the Bench.
As the “save Sukhna” case came up for resumed hearing before the Bench of Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Ramendra Jain, the amicus curiae or the friend of the court, Tanu Bedi, suggested that the visitors treating dustbins as a piece of trash were required to be dealt with.
She suggested that volunteers could be roped in to prevent littering of the lake. Some regular walkers could be requested to act as marshals to identify the litterbugs. Bedi also suggested that initially the Administration could sensitise the visitors for about two weeks before initiating proceedings against them.
Bedi also placed on record a comprehensive report on the basis of suggestions received by her and senior advocate Manmohan Lal Sarin from people on saving the lake. The Bench had, on a previous date of hearing, invited suggestions from the residents. The people were asked to forward their views to Sarin and Bedi before being analysed and placed before the Bench.
The developments took place nearly two years after the High Court directed the states of Punjab and Haryana, along with the Union Territory of Chandigarh, to impose appropriate fine on litterbugs.
In a judgment having the potential of changing the way the streets are littered, a Division Bench of the High Court had asserted: “The writ petition is ordered to be closed with a direction to the states of Punjab and Haryana as well as the Union Territory, Chandigarh, to ensure that residents do not resort to throwing garbage in public places and in case any person does so, appropriate fine be imposed”.
A Single Judge of the High Court had earlier taken suo motu cognisance of the “pathetic and horrible sanitation conditions, defacement and destruction of public property by residents of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali”. The matter was then directed to be treated as a public interest litigation before being placed before the Division Bench.
Before parting with the order, the Bench concluded: “Keeping in view the status reports filed by Punjab, Haryana as well as the UTas also the submission made by their counsel, we are satisfied that the authorities are taking steps to maintain cleanliness in the tricity….”
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