In The High Court of Judicature At Bombay,In the matter of Articles 19, 21 and 226 of the Constitution of India,AND, the matter of Pollution of Coastal Waters of Mumbai City
In the matter of discharge of untreated sewage from slums and industrial waste into the ‘Mithi River”, which is discharged into the Arabian Sea. And
In the matter of discharge of sewage right at the coast line itself, by the City’s Civic Body
And In the matter of right to clean and wholesome environment
And In the matter of saving the ecosystem of Mumbai City.
“Citizen Circle for Social Welfare )
and Education:, though its President – )
Mr. Arshad Ali, aged about 40 )
years old, having its Registered Office )
at – Building No. 04, Mubarak )
Complex, V.B. Nagar, Kurla (West), )
Mumbai – 400070 )…Petitioners
1. The State of Maharashtra, )
Through Government Pleader, )
High Court, Fort, Mumbai )
2. Municipal Corporation of Greater )
Mumbai its Head Office at – )
Mahapalika Marg, C.S.T., )
Mumbai : 400001. )
3. Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, )
Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, )
Kalpataru Point, 3rd and 4th floor, )
Opp. Cine Planet,Sion Circle, )
Mumbai-400 022. )…Respondents
THE HON’BLE CHIEF JUSTICE
& OTHER PUISINE JUDDGES OF THIS
THE HUMBLE PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION OF THE PETITIONER ABOVENAMED
MOST RESPECTFULLY SHEWETH :-
The Petitioner most humbly and respectfully submits as under :-
1. The Petitioner is a Mumbai based Non – Governmental Organisation (N.G.O.), for Social Welfare and Education, having Registration No. 1053-2011 G.B.B.S.D., having its Registered Office at the address as shown in the ‘Cause Title’ of the above Petition and as such, is engaged in the welfare of the society at large.
- The Respondent No.1 is the State of Maharashtra; Respondent No.2, is a Statutory Civil Authority established under the provisions of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888 and the Respondent No.3, is the Pollution Control Board of the State of Maharashtraimplements a range of environmental legislation in the State of Maharashtra and functions under the administrative control of Environment Department of the Government of Maharashtra.
- The Petitioners by way of the present petition are aggrieved by the dismal condition of the coastal water of the city of Mumbai, which is polluted to the most extreme level, which is dangerous to the entire ecosystem and the public at large has been complaining about the same. Pertinently, the Petitioners, have personally surveyed the coastal areas of Mumbai City, to find out about the effects and causes of Water Pollution and have also read about the same, in several newspaper articles wherein, they (Newspaper Articles) have relied upon several reports on the causes and effect/impact of pollution of the coastal water and in one such report, which is formulated by one Institute known as, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, which was published in Mirror Now, in its online article dated 15th May 2017, it is stated based on their survey that
“…Mumbai’s coastline is now considered among the most polluted in the world. And one of the reasons for this is that the sewage receives a basic preliminary treatment before it is pumped into the sea…”
Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit ‘A’ are the copies of the photographs clicked on 30-07-2017, of the Mumbai’s coastline at Marine Drive which shows/reflects untreated sewage/waste piled up in huge quantities on the coast line. Hereto annexed and marked as Exhibit ‘B’ is the computer print out of the said Mirror Now online article dated 15th May 2017.
- Pertinently the Respondent No.3, had conducted a survey which was reported in an article published by English Daily – ‘Hindustan Times’ dated 18/07/2017 wherein, it is stated that the Respondent No. 3 analyzed the water quality along Mumbai’s Coast Line during the period between January and May, 2017, in order to create a Water Quality Index (WQI). The quality of coastal water at Juhu, Girgaum and Haji Ali recorded 44, 45 and 45.2 WQI levels. Whereas, Mahim recorded 45.2, Worli Sea-face 46.1, Nariman Point 46.8 and Dadar Chowpatty 46.8 respectively. According to the readings WQI levels between 38 and 50 are classified as polluted; a reading between 63 and 100 indicates clean water. Mithi’s WQI is 28, which means highly polluted water. The reason which the Respondent No.3 assigned for the polluted costal water are insufficient sewage treatment and untreated sewage from slums. Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit ‘C’ is the computer generated printout of the said article dated 18/07/2017, published in said English Daily ‘Hindustan Times’.
- Moreover, according to several other reports other than the reports/surveys conducted by the Respondent No.3, also spell out the reasons as to why Mumbai’s Coastal Waters are dirtiest/ most polluted in the world and the same is not only dangerous/harmful to the well-being of the residents of Mumbai City, but also hazardous to plants as well as, aquatic/marine life and the same has also been reported by India Times News published online on 3rd April 2017, wherein it has also been reported based on survey done by one – Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany, which revealed that the litter on the four beaches in Mumbai, viz., Juhu, Versova, Dadar and Aksa ; there were 68.83 items of waste/debry, per sqm. and the majority of such waste/debry consisted of micro-plastics (41.85%) ranging in size from 1mm to 5mm. Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit ‘D’ is the computer generated print out of the said article dated 3rd April 2017.
- Further, according to a study done/conducted/ carried- out by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, the level of faecal coliform (FC) — a bacterium found in human and animal excreta — is between 100 and 1,000 times higher than the permissible limit set by law, and the said study is focused on the impact of sewage discharges on the water quality on the west coast, which further reveals/unearths/brings to light that even the slightest intake of such contaminated sea water by a resident swimming therein, could lead to gastrointestinal illnesses like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain, headaches, fevers, respiratory infections and skin and eye irritation. The same has been reported by the English Daily ‘Hindustan Times’ dated 25/07/2016. Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit ‘E’ is the computer generated print-out of the said article dated 25th July,
- The Petitioners state that they have personally visited the coastline of Mumbai on 30-07-2017, and were shocked, surprised and dismayed to notice that there are several points along the coastline at Marine Drive, Mumbai, where they found that the sewage is discharged through big sewage pipes directly into the Arabian Sea at the coast line itself whereas, it is the duty and the responsibility of the Respondent No.2 – Corporation, to discharge sewage at the distance of about 3.7kms from the coast line, which is a practice followed world-wide in-order to keep the coast line clean. Hence, the Corporation is itself flouting with the rule of law, which is one of the primary reason for contamination/pollution of coastal water, which as aforesaid has resulted in Mumbai’s coastal water as being one of the most polluted in the world. Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit ‘F’ are the photographs dated 30-07-2017, of the points along the coast line at Marine Drive, Mumbai, which shows that sewage is being discharged from a big sewage pipe, for which the Respondent No.2 – Corporation is wholly and solely responsible.
- The Petitioners state that when they visited Mumbai’s Coastline they found that the trees which are planted on the promenade/footpath there, have no leaves on that part of the tree which are facing the coastline and the same is because of the spill over of the coastal water on the trees, during high tides and the same further establishes the fact that the water is polluted to extreme levels which is prima facie unfit/dangerous/hazardous to entire ecosystem. Hereto annexed and marked as Exhibit ‘G’ are the photographs such trees at the Marine Drive at Mumbai.
- The Petitioners further state that the Respondent No.2, are fully aware that they are not treating all the waste at the sewage treatment plants in Mumbai, to the optimum/prescribed level, in order to make it fit for releasing the same into the sea. Moreover the Respondents have further contributed in making Mumbai’s sea, as one of the most polluted in the world, by being aware of the fact that about 25% of waste/sewage is directly discharged into the sea without receiving/ being subjected to any kind of treatment of whatsoever nature, as the same is the sewage released /discharged from slums and small scale industries loacted in the vicinity of the Mithi River. The Respondent No. 2 – Corporation is turning a blind eye to the unabated/uninterrupted flow of such untreated sewage by slum dwellers, which accounts for about 25% sewage generated on a daily basis in Mumbai City. The Respondent No.2 as well as the Respondent No.1, have to come up with a clear policy to cut down the flow of such sewage by slum dwellers by formulating a law in that regard or by way of imposition of a provision under the existing laws, by way of amendment. Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit ‘H’ are the photographs dated 30-07-2017, clicked by the Petitioners at ‘Mithi River’, Dharavi, showing the amount of garbage accumulated/gathered on the surface of the said river and the same also shows, that the sewage is discharged from the slums directly into the said river, as the sewage discharge pipes are clearly visible therein. Thus, the Respondent No.2, has not laid out the drainage system in the slum areas, which as per reports accounts to 25% of untreated sewage into the sea.
- The Petitioners further state that as per various surveys conducted relating to the impact/effect of contaminated sea water on the fishes consumed by the residents of Mumbai, which are caught by fishermen within certain kilometres of the coastline, have concluded/held that if, such fishes are consumed then, the same is dangerous to human life, as such fishes carry toxicants, on account of pollution in the sea.
- That therefore, this Hon’ble Court be pleased to issue writ of mandamus or any other writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ or order or direction and thereby, frame appropriate guidelines to stop the pollution of the coastal waters of Mumbai City.
- That this Hon’ble Court be further pleased to direct the Respondents to discharge the sewage at an appropriate distance and stop discharging the same at the coast line;
- That this Hon’ble Court be further pleased to direct the Respondents to immediately frame appropriate policy/law in-order to stop the flow of sewage into the ‘Mithi River’, by laying dranage system in the vicinity of the said river and also, to impose penalty on all the dwellers and industrial houses in the vicinity of the said river in case they are found discharging the same in the said river.
- That this Hon’ble Court be further pleased to direct the Respondents to upgrade its sewage treatment plants and also further, be pleased to direct them to form a mechanism to verify whether all the sewage treated at such plants is treated to its optimum level.
- That this Hon’ble Court be pleased to direct the respondents to increase the number of sewage treatment plants in Mumbai.
- That pending the hearing and final disposal of the above Petition this Hon’ble Court be pleased to appoint a commission to assist this Hon’ble Court with regard to the subject-matter of the above Petition.
- That the Petitioner has filed the above Petition in a great hurry/urgency and therefore, the Petitioner reserves the right with the leave of this Hon’ble Court to add/alter and/or amend any of the above grounds, and also to correct any technical/provisional requirement of law, if any, with the leave of this Hon’ble Court.
- That, the petitioner has not filed any petition in this matter before this Hon’ble High Court or Supreme Court of India, touching the subject-matter of the above Petition.
- To the petitioner’s knowledge the Respondent have not filed any caveat application under Section 148-A of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 in this matter.
- That the Petitioner has no other efficacious remedy but, to approach this Hon’ble Court by way of the above Petition which is in the interest of the Public at large.
- The Petitioner has paid the prescribed court fees
- That the reliefs as prayed for, is granted then no loss, harm, damage, prejudice, and/or injury shall be caused to the Respondents however, if the same are not granted then the same shall result in grave loss, harm, prejudice and injury to the Petitioner, and the same cannot be compensated in terms of money. Moreover, the non grant of reliefs shall result in travesty and miscarriage of justice.
- That the Pan Card Number of the Petitioner is
- That the above Petition is not barred by the law of limitation.
- That the Petitioner source of in-formation is based on the Exhibits and also personal knowledge as spelled-out hereinabove.
- That the Petitioner has no personal interest save and except, that the same is filed in the interest of the public at large.
- That this Hon’ble Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to try, entertain and dispose of the above Petition.
The Petitioners, therefore, pray :
- that this Hon’ble Court be pleased to issue writ of mandamus or any other writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ or order or direction and thereby, frame appropriate guidelines to stop the pollution of the coastal waters of Mumbai City;
- that this Hon’ble Court be further pleased to direct the Respondents to discharge the sewage at an appropriate distance and stop discharging the same at the coast line;
- that this Hon’ble Court be further pleased to direct the Respondents to immediately frame appropriate policy/law, in-order to stop the flow of sewage into the ‘Mithi River’, by laying drainage system in the vicinity of the said river and also, to impose penalty on all the dwellers and industrial houses in the vicinity of the said river in case they are found discharging the same in the said river;
- that this Hon’ble Court be further pleased to direct the Respondents to upgrade its sewage treatment plants and also further, be pleased to direct them to form a mechanism to verify whether all the sewage treated at such plants is treated to its optimum level;
- that this Hon’ble Court be pleased to direct the respondents to increase the number of sewage treatment plants in Mumbai;
- That pending the hearing and final disposal of the above Petition this Hon’ble Court be pleased to appoint a commission/panel of experts to assist this Hon’ble Court with regard to the subject-matter of the above Petition;
- for any other and further order as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper, be passed.
Advocate for the Petitioners Petitioners
Adv. Shehzad Naqvi