Citizens Action Group vs. State of Karnataka

August 4, 2017
Constitution & Governance

The Citizens Action Group has filed the present petition by way of Public Interest Litigation in order to draw attention to the deteriorating conditions of the water bodies in the city. Due to unchecked discharge of sewage, encroachment and consequent clogging, the drains are in dismal condition and are a serious health hazard for the citizens of Bangalore, depriving them of the right to a clean and healthy environment guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. The petitioner has sought proper maintenance of the storm water drains in the city, which have been infiltrated with sewage lines. The key focus of this petition is to ensure that the BBMP and BWSSB maintain distinct drainage systems for sewage lines and storm water drains.

The prayer in the petition seeks directions to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to ensure regular maintenance and de-silting of storm water drains, setting up of wastewater treatment plants to treat the water before it is discharged into the lakes and to ensure sewage does not enter the lakes storm water drains. The petitioner has further sought directions to the respondent authorities to lay down comprehensive guidelines for proper maintenance of the drainage system in Bangalore.

On 1/12/2014, The High Court passed a landmark order directing the BBMP and the BWSSB to take steps to ensure that the 183 lakes in Bangalore are sewage and waste free by taking necessary steps to prevent any sewage, effluents or industrial waste from entering the storm water drains. The respondents were empowered to initiate penal action against any person or party releasing pollutants into storm-water drains.

Following this order, the BWSSB has been submitting periodic status reports to the High Court on the condition of the lakes and drainage system as well as the projects undertaken for maintenance of the same. The 8th Status report was submitted on the last date of hearing, i.e. 24/07/2017. However, noting the argument of the petitioner that the status reports merely reflected technical details of projects undertaken and there was no improvement on the ground, the High Court directed that the BBMP and BWSSB file a report within 3 weeks time with details of the developments on ground indicating the extent to which the BBMP has been successful in improving the condition of the storm water drains.