The Supreme Court, while hearing the Taj Trapezium Matter, has directed the concerned authorities of the State of Uttar Pradesh to immediately remove the silt, sludge and garbage in the bed of River Yamuna in Agra and said that it should be a continuous activity.

An Intervention Application (IA) was filed in the main writ petition on behalf of the Agra Development Foundation seeking an order for the removal of silt, sludge and garbage up to a depth of 5-6 meters lying on the river bed of the River Yamuna in the city of Agra and an order for restoration of river bed to its natural state and regularization of proper de-silting/de-sludging in future.

The Bench of Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Ujjal Bhyyan observed “On the face of it, there cannot be any dispute that the work, as suggested, will have to be carried out by the respondents. The respondents must tell us on oath whether any steps have been taken for the removal of silt, sludge and garbage lying in the bed of river Yamuna in the city of Agra, Uttar Pradesh. If the steps have not been taken till date, the same shall be immediately taken. If the concerned authorities need advise of an expert agency to ensure that the bed of river Yamuna is kept clean and without any slit, sludge and garbage, the Government of India may take appropriate decision in that behalf. Needless to add that removal of the slit, sludge and garbage from the bed of river Yamuna has to be a continuous activity.”

The Petitioner appeared in person while ASG Aishwarya Bhati and Senior Advocates Sanjay Upadhyay and Ravi Prakash Mehrotra appeared for the other parties.

The Court also directed the Union Government, the Government of Uttar Pradesh to file an affidavit in light of the above matter. The Court said, “The affidavits shall be filed not only by the Government of India but also by the State of Uttar Pradesh and Agra Development Authority. The three authorities while filing the affidavits shall take a clear stand setting out the name of the authority which is under an obligation to undertake continuous work of removal of silt, sludge and garbage from the bed of river Yamuna. The affidavits shall be filed by the end of June, 2024. No further time shall be granted. The applications will be considered on 11th July, 2024.”

In the main petition, the Supreme Court on various occasions has been giving directions to protect the Taj Mahal and other nearby monuments, falling within the Taj Trapezium Zone. The Court, previously, had modified its earlier order and removed the restriction imposed on increasing air traffic in Agra. In December 2019 permission was granted to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to construct an additional terminal at Agra Airport but restricted that the air traffic should not be increased, to preserve the Taj Mahal monument.

Accordingly, the IAs are now listed on July 11, 2024, and the main civil appeal is listed on August 22, 2024, for final disposal.

Cause Title: M.C. Mehta v. Union of India & Ors.


Amicus Curiae: Senior Advocates A.D.N. Rao

Petitioner: Petioner-in-person

Parties: ASG Aishwarya Bhati, Senior Advocates Sanjay Upadhyay, Ravi Prakash Mehrotra, A.N.S. Nadkarni, Sr. AAG Garima Prashad, Advocates EC Agrawala, Gurmeet Singh Makker, Rajeev Kumar Dubey, Salvador Santosh Rebello and others.

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