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In a landmark judgement, the Uttarakhand High Court has declared Ganga and Yamuna, two of the country’s most sacred rivers, as “living human entities”. “Holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna have been declared to be treated as a living human entities,” said a division bench of Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh of the High Court.
Giving the “legal status” of living humans to the holy rivers, the court also directed the concerned authorities to work out the division of various properties between the neighbouring states under Uttar Pradesh Re-Oganization Act, 2000. It is a matter which has been pending since the creation of Uttarakhand in the year 2000.
The court also said that the Director, Namami Gange project for cleaning and rejuvenating the river, the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Uttarakhand will act as the “legal parents” of the holy rivers, adding that they have been tasked to work as a the human face to protect, conserve and preserve them and their tributaries. It also ruled that these officers are bound to “uphold the status” of the two rivers and also promote their “health and well being”.
While delivering the ruling, the court also cited the the example of river Whanganui in New Zealand which has been given such status. In addition, it also asked the government to form as a Ganga Management Board within the next eight weeks.