Pollution at Sabarimala: High Court directive to State government

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the State government to address the court on the issue of initiating action to prevent pollution in and around Sabarimala. The Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice K. Vinod Chandran issued the direction when a report submitted by the Ombudsman for Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards on pollution at Sabarimala came up for hearing.

The report was submitted following a directive to look into a complaint about the inconvenience caused by the devotees due to roaming pigs in the area. The report said that nets could be used to prevent the entry of pigs. The problem was exacerbated as there was no frequent cleaning of the areas. If the areas were kept free of leftover foods, pigs could be kept at bay. The Ombudsman suggested increase in wages being paid to the persons engaged for cleaning works. The petitioner pointed out that use of plastic bottle could be banned in the areas. The report said that the proposed ban on bottled drinking water might not be practical.

Electricity bill

Justice S. Siri Jagan on Thursday held that there was no provision to recover arrears of electricity charge in case of a fault in meter, which is not attributable to consumers. The judge made the observation while disposing of a writ petition filed by Sibi K. Thomas of Kochi against KSEB’s demand for additional charges for the consumption of energy during the period when the meter remained faulty. The meter was not working because of its defective installation.

The court said that as per the Kerala Electricity Supply Code, if the assessing officer reached a conclusion that unauthorised use of electricity had taken place, the assessment shall be made for the entire period during which the illegal use had taken place and if the period could not be ascertained, it should be limited to 12 months immediately preceding to the date of inspection. The court said that it would be unjust to recover from the petitioner charges in excess of 12 months. The court ordered that the petitioner was liable to pay arrears of electricity charges only 12 months prior to the date of inspection. The court also directed that the petitioner shall not be asked to pay the surcharges.

Bail plea

Justice N.K. Balakrishnan adjourned to July 29 the hearing on a bail petition filed by K.C. Ramachandran and Padayankandy Ravindran, CPI(M) Kunnumakkara and Orkattery local committee members and accused in the RMP leader T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case.

Biometric data

A writ petition was filed seeking a directive to the authorities concerned to effectively implement the Registrar General and Census Commissioner’s order not to record the biometric data for the second time if it had been taken either for the Unique Identity Card or the National Population Register. The petitioner, M. Mujeeb Rahman, Nilamboor municipal councillor, said there was no need to record the biometric data of a person for the second time during NPR process if he had already secured an Aadhar or given the data for the UID purpose. In fact, the data collected were available at the Unique Identity Authority of India which could be accessed by the authorities undertaking NPR project.

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