Mumbai: 'State Duty Bound To Protect Environment,' HC While Hearing PIL For Demolition Of Structures On Banks Of Nagpur's Futala Lake

Mumbai: 'State Duty Bound To Protect Environment,' HC While Hearing PIL For Demolition Of Structures On Banks Of Nagpur's Futala Lake

The directions were passed while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an association — Swacch Association, Nagpur — alleging that the musical fountain, viewing gallery, and other installations on the banks of the lake were illegal and sought the demolition of the same.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, December 01, 2023, 08:44 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

The Bombay High Court has observed that the state is duty-bound to protect and preserve the environment and directed the authorities concerned in Nagpur not to cause any damage to the man-made Futala Lake with their construction activities.

Court highlights importance of preserving nature

Resources such as air, sea, water, and forests are a gift of nature and should be made freely available to everyone, noted a division bench of Justices AS Chandurkar and Vrushali Joshi on Thursday.

The bench said, “Preservation of the Futala Lake is of paramount importance, and the authorities are duty-bound to act responsibly in a manner consistent with Articles 48-A and 51-A (g) of the Constitution of India.”

PIL to demolish structures on banks of Futala Lake

The directions were passed while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an association — Swacch Association, Nagpur — alleging that the musical fountain, viewing gallery, and other installations on the banks of the lake were illegal and sought the demolition of the same. It also urged that the authorities be directed to restore the banks of the lake to their original state.

The lake was built in 1799 by the Bhonsale kings of Nagpur to supply water to Telangkhedi Garden. It has now become a tourist spot.

The court said that although a lake was not a natural one and was man-made, it is still important to protect and preserve it from any permanent construction.

Court quotes article 48-A

"Article 48-A of the Constitution of India requires the state to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forest and wildlife of the country," the court said. "According to Article 51-A (g), every citizen must protect and improve the natural environment, including lakes," it stated.

The bench added, "Thus, even if the Futala Lake is not a declared wetland, the duties and responsibilities imposed by the aforesaid provisions would have to be adhered to in the true letter and spirit."

Noting that the construction being carried out on the banks of the lake has the requisite permissions and sanctions, the court said that it will be necessary to ensure that no permanent construction is undertaken.

“The authorities shall ensure that their activities do not result in causing any ecological damage to the water body and that the quality of aqua life is not adversely affected,” the bench concluded. bench concluded. 

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