The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Uttarakhand High Court verdict according the status of “living human entities” to Ganga and Yamuna, two of India’s major rivers. A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud passed the order on Uttarakhand government’s plea against the high court’s March 20 judgement, which said “Holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna have been declared to be treated as a living human entities.”
The high court verdict had come on a PIL of Haridwar resident Mohammad Salim over mining and stone crushing along the banks of the Ganga. The high court had also ordered the Dehradun District Magistrate (DM) to remove encroachments from the Shakti canal of the Ganga at Dhakrani within 72 hours, failing which the DM would be suspended.
Giving the “legal status” of living humans to the holy rivers, the court had ordered that the Director, Namami Gange project for cleaning and rejuvenating the river, the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Uttarakhand will act as “legal parents” of the holy rivers and work as a human face to protect, conserve and preserve them and their tributaries.
These officers will be bound to “uphold the status” of the two rivers and also promote their “health and well-being”, the high court had said. It had also directed the government to form a Ganga Management Board in accordance with an earlier order of the court in December 2016.