Just two days after New Zealand declared the Whanganui River as a living entity, Uttarakhand High Court declared India’s sacred and holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna as living entities bestowing on them same legal rights as a person. The court gave this decision in a bid to help in efforts to clean the pollution choked rivers.
Basically the order by High Court means that polluting these rivers will be equivalent to harming a person and will be punishable. The court will now allow complaints filed in the name of the two rivers. In the order, the court also ordered to set up boards for the cleaning and maintaining the rivers within eight weeks.
The Bench consisting of Justice Rajeev Sharma and Justice Alok Singh appointed three officials – Director general of Namami Gange Project, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary and Advocate General – to act as legal custodians responsible for conserving and protecting the rivers and their tributaries.
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been always criticised for not cleaning and maintaining the holy rivers. Hopefully this decision which was welcomed by the environmentalists will result in the cleaning and maintenance of rivers which are so dear to millions of Indians.