Judgment on Bichhri
The Supreme Court (SC) gave its verdict on the long impending judgment on the Bichhri case, Writ Petition No. 967 of 1989. A bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and H L Dattu, imposed a fine of Rs 38.385 crores on Hindustan Agro Chemicals Ltd (HACL) with compound interest since 1997 for the remediation of over 350 hectares of land in Bichhri. The Court also slapped a fine of Rs 10 Lakh on HACL for keeping the litigation alive for almost 15 years even though the court had disposed the petition in 1997, imposing Polluter Pays Principle according to which polluter must pay for the damage done to the human beings and environment. The lands in Bichhri were rendered contaminated by indiscriminate discharge of Sulphuric acid from the cluster of chemical industries in and around Bichhri. The toxic untreated wastewaters were also allowed to flow freely and percolated deep into the earth polluting the aquifers and the sub terrain supply of water. Huge tracts of land turned infertile and hundreds of villagers suffered acute health problems.