Supreme Court Stays HC Order Declaring Rivers Ganga and Yamuna ‘Living Entities’

The Uttarakhand Government can now take a breather as it would otherwise have been held accountable for pollution of the two rivers or in case any deaths occurred due to floods.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the order by the Uttarakhand High Court, which had declared Rivers Ganga and Yamuna as living entities. The HC had ruled that as Hindus across India revered Ganga and Yamuna, they must be considered as living entities.

However, the Uttarakhand Government had challenged the High Court order in the apex court, seeking to know whether families of victims can claim compensation from the State when casualties occur during floods.

The apex court did not rule anything beyond staying the impugned order.

A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Rajeev Sharma and Justice Alok Singh ruled on March 20:  “Holy Rivers Ganga and Yamuna have been declared to be treated as living human entities.” They also cited the instance of river Whanganui in New Zealand, which was given such a status.

While giving the holy rivers legal status of living humans, the High Court had also ordered the Director of Namami Gange Project to clean and rejuvenate the river. It also made Chief Secretary and Advocate General of Uttarakhand legal parents of the rivers, who would work as the human face to protect and conserve the rivers and their tributaries.

This led to the Uttarakhand Government approaching the Supreme Court.

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