To check the claims and counter-claims regarding the flow of sewage into Sukhna Lake from Saketri choe, a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday said they will inspect the area themselves even as Panchkula Municipal Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Jogpal told the court that not even a single drop of sewage was flowing into the lake from their side.
During the resumed hearing of the public interest litigation on Sukhna Lake, the Haryana government counsel told the division bench of Justices Ajay Kumar Mittal and Avneesh Jhingan that the sewage has been stopped and the news report on the basis of which the court had summoned Jogpal was incorrect.
The division bench, however, said it would select a date and visit the area for inspection. It said, “Can we start contempt proceedings on newspaper reports. No, we cannot.”
Stray dog menace
The division bench on Thursday also said that since the stray dog menace was increasing by the day in Tricity, steps have to be taken to curb the problem.
The bench, however, made it clear that it was hearing the issue only to control the stray dog population in Tricity and there was no question of the court ordering any process like culling of dogs.
The division bench asked Panchkula MC Commissioner Jogpal to submit an affidavit detailing the recent initiatives taken by them to control the stray dog menace. “We would like that for Chandigarh also,” said the bench, adding that stray dogs could be seen around Sukhna Lake, too.
While a senior lawyer told the court that stray dogs were present even in the High Court corridors and human lives have to be given priority, amicus Tanu Bedi told the court that sterilisation was a long-term solution to tackle the problem but it would be successful only if it was done properly by the authorities and asserted that every life was important and not just of humans.
While Bedi told the court that litter was a major attraction for stray dogs at Sukhna Lake, Senior Standing Counsel for UT Administration, Suvir Sehgal, submitted that people have been feeding dogs at random places around the lake due to which there has been some canine presence there.
The Punjab government, meanwhile, told the bench that there was a stay on any demolition in the catchment area in Kansal village due to which they have not been able to act against illegal constructions.
Punjab AG’s submission
In course of the hearing, Punjab Advocate-General Atul Nanda – who was present in court for some unrelated case – submitted that issues like stray dog menace should be left to the executive as courts were already overburdened. “I am saying the courts are doing a yeoman’s service but it is not the court’s job,” he said.
The division bench, however, said that if the Advocate General gave a report from Mohali that there were no stray dogs there, they will stop monitoring the matter.