The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed the two-weeks imprisonment handed down to former Delhi Jal Board (DJB) chief, Arun Mathur, for polluting the Yamuna by not repairing broken sewer lines in S Block of Greater Kailash-I.
A single judge of the court had sentenced Mathur and two other DJB officials on November 25 after finding them guilty of contempt of court for not carrying out the repair work despite directions to the effect two and a half years ago.
Justice S.N. Dhingra had taken serious view of the fact that sewage leaked into the adjacent storm water drain and flowed into the Yamuna untreated, polluting the river.
The judge however had immediately suspended the sentence giving the officials a “last chance” to comply with the order. They had been asked to stop the flow of sewage into storm water within three months and would be sent to jail only if failed to complete the task by the deadline. However, on an appeal filed by Mathur, a division bench headed by Justice A. K. Sikri stayed the order.
The court accepted the official’s contention that he could not comply with the single judge's order as he is no longer working in the DJB and was posted with the Enforcement Directorate.
The DJB also told the court that laying sewer pipes in the area would be complete by early 2009.
Lawyer Ashok Sethi, appearing for GK-I residents, had argued before the single judge that besides polluting the Yamuna, the rainwater drain being used as a sewage drain “had made life hell for residents and exposed them to diseases like hepatitis and jaundice”.