Uttaranchal High Court’s order declaring Ganga, Yamuna as living entities stayed

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of the Chief Justice and D.Y. Chanchrachud, J. has stayed the controversial Uttaranchal High Court’s order declaring Ganga, Yamuna and their tributaries as living entities.

The High Court had on March 20, 2017, [2017 SCC OnLine Utt 367 ] declared the Rivers, and all their tributaries, streams, every natural water flowing with continuous or intermittent flow, as juristic/legal persons/living entities, having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person read with Articles 48-A and 51-A(g) of the Constitution. The Director NAMAMI Gange, the Chief Secretary of the State of Uttarakhand and the Advocate General of the State of Uttarakhand were declared as persons in loco parentis i.e. the human face bound to protect, conserve, preserve, uphold the status and promote the health and well being of Ganga and Yamuna. The High Court made it clear that, “Rivers Ganga and Yamuna are breathing, living and sustaining the communities from mountains to sea”.

The State Government contended that given that the rivers run through different states, it is for the centre to frame policy on protecting them. [State of Uttarakhand v. Mohd. Salim, Petition for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No. 016879/2017, order dated 7-7-2017]

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