The Delhi High Court has issued a notice in a plea seeking compliance with a legislative mandate concerning the use of fly ash for brick manufacturing. On Friday, the Division Bench led by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh sought comments on the subject from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the Uttar Pradesh government, the Central Pollution Control Board, and other bodies.
The petitioner’s Senior Counsel, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, informed the jury that the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s notification specifically said that fly ash from coal power plants must be utilised solely for the manufacturing of bricks. He claimed that Noida’s tender, which called for the acquisition of red bricks, was illegitimate and in contravention of several Delhi High Court and Supreme Court directives.
“Over 22 years, there has been an attempt to try and clear up Delhi’s air,” Sankaranarayanan said, citing repeated violations of the legal requirement by both brick makers and government agencies. The court questioned him regarding the jurisdiction, and he explained that the cause of action arose for two reasons. For starters, it has a direct impact on the air above Delhi, and it is also in violation of a Delhi High Court decision ordering all state governments to use fly ash for various purposes.
Vimlendu Jha, a well-known environmental activist who has promoted various causes relating to environmental degradation for the past 20 years, filed the suit through Advocates Avishkar Singhvi and Nipun Katyal. The petitioner alluded to a notice issued by the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority on July 16, 2020, inviting e-tenders for the procurement of building materials, in which it is explicitly mentioned that the bricks sought to be procured must be “red bricks” instead of “fly ash bricks.”
The Ministry of Environment and Forest issued a notification on September 14, 1999, which was revised on January 25, 2016, mandating the use of fly ash for construction activities within a certain radius of a coal or lignite-based thermal power plant, according to the petition.
“The Right to Life as enshrined in Article 21 includes the life to breath and includes right to live in a clean environment, the right to unpolluted environment and preservation and protection of nature’s gifts has been conceded under Article 21 of the Constitution of India… It is most humbly submitted that by not following the considered mandate of the law the authorities are adopting the principal of regressing the environmental regime,” noted the petition.
The suit also asked for the declaration of the January 25, 2016, notification as legitimate and obligatory on all governmental organizations within India’s geographical limits, as well as the formulation of guidelines for its successful implementation.