Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on Tuesday claimed before Delhi High Court that a city hotel has been polluting the environment by discharging effluents into river Yamuna for the last two decades .
DPCC made the claim before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal which was hearing a plea of Krishna Continental Limited that runs a hotel since 1993 challenging a single judge order dismissing its plea seeking refund of around Rs 40 lakh from the committee.
"They (hotel) have not installed any effluent treatment plant and are discharging effluent in river Yamuna for past 20 years. Environment is polluted by discharge of effluent in the river. This is a serious issue," DPCC’s lawyer told the bench.
The lawyer appearing for the firm told the court that DPCC was not competent to impose such levy on it. He also contended that they have been paying all taxes and imposition of such a levy on them was "illegal and bad in law".
The bench, after hearing the submissions, reserved its verdict on the plea. "We will consider this and pass an order," it said.
A single judge bench of high court had earlier dismissed the plea of the firm seeking refund from DPCC saying that the company’s hotel had been polluting the city for last 20 years.
The court had noted that the firm had not taken any consent to establish or operate the hotel and a "very important and salutary provision" of environmental law has not been complied with by them for nearly 20 years.
The petitioner had earlier told the court that in April 2013, it was served with show cause notices under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 the and Air (Prevention Control of Pollution) Act 1981 in which "serious deficiencies" were pointed out.
It had said that in June 2013, they received a modified direction to install adequate effluent treatment plant and was also asked to submit an application for consent.
The firm had said that "under the threat of imminent closure and penal actions", it filed an application in August 2013 with a demand draft of Rs 41 lakh as condonation fee with the DPCC "under protest seeking consent to operate."
It claimed that as per the previous fee structure, it was liable to pay Rs 46,000 only and the DPCC was not authorised to levy penalty in the garb of condonation fee retrospectively at an exorbitant rate of Rs two lakh per annum from the date the hotel was established.