The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a PIL seeking a direction to the Uttar Pradesh government for “restoration” of rivers passing through forests in the state.
A vacation bench comprising justices S A Nazeer and Indu Malhotra took strong note of the PIL as it was filed by Gopal Chandra Sinha, an official of the state forest department who was facing criminal investigation in a case. “First tell us about your locus. There is a criminal case pending against you. What is the cause of action… It is not a bona fide PIL,” the bench said.
The court, however, concurred with the submission of senior advocate Anoop George Choudhari, appearing for Sinha, that it was a good cause as it pertained to eco-restoration of the rivers in the state and the failure on the part of the administration to restore them often resulted in massive floods and devastation. “Let some NGO or some other person file the PIL. We will take judicial note of that petition. We will not take note of your plea,” the bench said prompting the petitioner to withdraw his plea.
“Senior counsel for the petitioner seeks to leave to withdraw the writ petition. Permission granted. The writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn,” the court noted in its order. Sinha, an assistant forest conservator of the forest department of Uttar Pradesh, filed the PIL seeking direction that the rivers, including Ganga, be restored. The plea alleged that flow of water in rivers, passing through forest areas of Uttar Pradesh, was being obstructed due to various reasons like the felling of trees and silt.
It also said that the state forest department initially floated the tender for restoration work of the rivers in March this year and later withdrew the same.