The Supreme Court Thursday hit out at the Lieutenant Governor over mounting garbage in the capital, saying he thought he was a “superman” and was trying to pass the buck. Terming the situation “absolutely bizarre”, a bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta court referred to the “mountains of garbage” at the Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhalswa landfills, and said there was a 65-metre mound at Ghazipur, which was “only eight metres less than Qutub Minar”.
The court expressed its unhappiness that no official from the L-G office had attended a meeting chaired by Delhi’s Health Minister on solid waste management. “Nobody from the L-G office bothered to attend the meeting, and he (L-G) says that I have the power, I am the ‘superman’,” the bench observed.
It added, “This is nothing but passing the buck. The (municipal) corporations are doing this, so it is their duty. Because I (L-G) am a powerful man, nobody can touch me… This is the attitude,” the bench remarked when Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand did not commit on a timeline to clean the garbage, and asked for time to seek instructions. Anand said both the L-G and the Delhi government were equally responsible for the crisis. But Justice Lokur said, “Is the office of the L-G responsible? According to your affidavit, the answer is yes. Then do not bring the Chief Minister into this.”
On Tuesday, the bench had asked both the L-G and the government to clarify who is responsible for “clearing mountains of garbage in Delhi” at the three landfills. Affidavits filed by the L-G and government said that solid waste management in Delhi was the responsibility of the MCDs, and the L-G has the authority to issue directions in this regard under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act.
The bench said, “Why should the corporations be asked? You are the L-G. You should have found out by now… There have been 25 meetings (in the last two years) but there has been no outcome.” “We do not know what is the use of power when he (L-G) is not doing anything. He has to act and not hold meetings. Do not tell us about these 25 meetings. Do not try to justify this. You have to accept that nothing has happened,” the bench told Anand.
The ASG then referred to a status report on what the MCDs had done to clear the mess, but the bench was not convinced. “This is completely vague. Tell us the timeline… Do not give us jargons. Tell us in plain simple English as to how much time will be taken,” Justice Lokur retorted.
The court asked the L-G to file a fresh affidavit by July 16, indicating the timeframe to deal with the situation. The judges added that the “state policy on solid waste management strategy”, framed by the L-G office, was “utopian” as the MCDs do not have the money to implement it. “People have died in Delhi while cleaning sewers. There is no will. People of Delhi will rise to the occasion but no one will implement all this,” said the bench.