Rashid Paul

HC seeks personal appearance of officers for not filing ATRs

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Prohibition of polythene in tourist areas

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday called for personal appearance of a number of senior police and civil officers of the union territory administration for failing to file their respective responses on preparation of publicity material notifying prohibitions and penalties for carrying polythene in the tourist areas.

The officers directed to appear before the court include Senior Superintendent of Police, Kathua; Secretaries Housing & Urban Development, Tourism, Environment and Forests, and Floriculture departments besides the Chief Executive Officers of Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Patnitop Development authorities.

The officers shall remain present through video-conferencing on the next date of hearing, directed the court.

The court remarked that despite various opportunities, the respondent officers have failed to file the reply to the instant application, so much so none appears for the respondents, it said.

The court on 23rd of October and 10th of November 2020 had passed certain directions to the respondents/authorities to file the action taken reports in the matter.

As per the report of the Registry of the court, no such report had been filed by any of the respondents.

“The action taken reports as directed in terms of our orders be filed before the next date of hearing,” directed the court.

Hearing a public interest litigation by Pahalgam Peoples Welfare Organization about the damage caused to Pahalgam tourist area, a division bench of the court observed that the union territories of the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are ecologically fragile areas.

The prohibition on polythene is required to be strictly enforced, especially at tourist spots, it said.

It is essential that the respondent authorities prepare proper publicity material notifying prohibitions and penalties for carrying forbidden materials like polythene to the tourist resorts and apprise all vehicle-owners and the general public about the legal position, directed the bench.

It issued a direction to the J&K State Pollution Control Board, Departments of Home, Tourism, Floriculture, Environment and Forests, and Housing and Urban Development to prepare proper publicity material for the purpose.

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