Uttarakhand High Court Grants River Ganga Rights Equal to Humans


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The Uttarakhand High Court on Monday recognised river Ganga as the first living entity of India, a move that grants it the same legal rights as a human being.

The new status means that if someone pollutes the Ganga — considered to be the holiest river in the country — the law will see it equal to harming a human being.

The court also ruled that the government form a Ganga Administration Board for better maintenance and cleaning of the river.

A similar ruling was passed in New Zealand last week when their parliament passed a bill declaring the 145-km long Whanganui River as a living entity.

The Whanganui became the first river in the world to be legally recognised as a living entity and was granted the same rights as a human being.

Earlier in the month, the court came heavily down upon the Union and the Uttarakhand governments for doing “nothing concrete” to clean the river. The court slammed them for wasting efforts on reviving a lost river Saraswati but not taking efforts on maintaining Ganga which if given proper attention will once again flow in its full glory.

“The Ganga should be saved for the generations to come,” the court added.

The Executive Committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga had recently approved 20 projects – 13 of which are in Uttarakhand – worth Rs 1,900 crore to be swiftly implemented in Uttarakhand, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

27 comments on "Uttarakhand High Court Grants River Ganga Rights Equal to Humans"

  1. ramachandran narayan says:

    excellent

  2. chander says:

    Very Happy to find Uttarakhand took such prompt action — like Maoris recognizing the rivers. Uttarakhand has shown the way for the whole country by doing this. Congratulations to the State.

    Now we need to go one step further
    1) All the rivers of India be declared as “individuals” with legal rights, by the Supreme Court
    2) Why Supreme Court? Most rivers flow through many states.
    When problems concerning a particular river arises, if that river represented by the Govt Secretary of each state having different viewpoints, then it will be like the one “human river” making a cacophony of conflicting statements; thus further adding to the list of decade long inter-state disputes!
    3) Hence a) the supreme court should give this legal status to the whole river –from source to ocean; this for all the rivers -big and small, preferably in one stroke –not a plethora of PILs.
    (Or better the Parliament make a Single Law covering all the rivers)
    b) there should be a single river authority (non-political, non-governmental, non-bureaucratic like any citizen) to represent the rivers legally.
    c) this authority should not just stop with water-sharing disputes; more importantly, they should protect the “health” of each river by legally acting against polluters (industries, people etc), encroachers (real estates, resorts) and people stealing water un-authorisedly (bottling plants).

    More such positive acts will go a long way in flourishing the culture, which always was on the banks of the great rivers of the country.

  3. Y Venkatachalapathy says:

    Hare 🙏 Krishna

    Very good and wondeful news.
    Yes river Ganga mata and other rivers throughout the world are nothing but the livings Goddesses to human beings. The holy river Ganga mata should have declared as Goddess. But grateful to our Judicial authorities at last they have noticed and recognized river Ganga mata as an individual human being.

    Hare 🙏 Krishna

  4. Jiva Pavana Dasa says:

    A mother gives life. Mother Ganges is a giver of life hence a mother. Also she has her eternal spiritual form in the spiritual world. This decision recognizes these realities. Now India must act practically to stop offending and polluting the river Ganges.

  5. Dharmarajan.v says:

    Each river should get like this judgement

  6. Commander Ajay Gupta says:

    Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10 verse 31 says:

    Among the purifiers I am the wind; of the wielder of weapons I am Lord Rama; among the fishes I am shark; among the rivers I am river Ganga (Jahnavi). (10:31)
    Sri Krishna says that among all the Rivers of the world; I am the Ganga River descending from the heavens, in the form of melting snow from the lofty Himalayas. The Ganges or the Ganga River is a sacred river to Hindus, along every fragment of its length. All along its course of flow, Hindus take bath in its waters, pay homage to their ancestors and to their gods by cupping its water in their hands, lifting it in reverence, and letting it fall back into the River.
    The Ganga River is the embodiment of sacred waters in Hindu mythology. There is nothing more stirring for a Hindu than to take a dip in the Ganga River, which is considered to remit sins, especially at one of the famous tirthas such as Gangotri, Haridwar, Prayag, or Varanasi. The symbolic and religious importance of the Ganga River is a matter of faith.
    The Ganges River, also known as the Ganga, is one of the world’s major rivers, running for more than 2,550 kilometres from the Himalayas to its final discharge in the Bay of Bengal. Nature provided the purest form of water by melting of snow in the glaciers of the Himalayas, but mankind apart from veneration of the river water, has also misused the Ganga waters, for their own convenience and selfish interests.
    Ganga is now one of the most polluted rivers; and the primary source of pollution of the river comes from sewage, from animal carcasses, human corpses, soap and other pollutants from bathers. Indeed, scientists measured the harmful bacteria present in the Ganga waters, at thousands of times more than what is permissible.
    Another factor for the massive increase in pollution levels of Ganga River is the ever increasing and exploding population of India along the entire stretch of the river. India’s population at the time of Independence in 1947 was a mere 350 million or 35 crores. The present population of India in the year 2017 is 131 crores or 1310 millions, which is more than three and a half time increase as compared with the population in the year 1947. Indian Government has done very little to control the exploding population and thus reduce poverty, decrease pollution levels, and improve the quality of living.
    The level of oxygen in the Ganga water has also been found to be unhealthy. But due to faith and the divine dispensation of God, people still drink its water and yet survive for a healthy living. Cleaning of the Ganga River has been taken up by the Government sponsored Ganga Action Plan (GAP), from time to time, but the desired results have not been satisfactorily achieved.
    The Ganga River starts from its source and origin as the Bhagirathi River, Gangotri Glaciers at Gomukh, and travels through many cities in India in the Gangetic plains before its final discharge in the Bay of Bengal.

  7. Pepper Smile says:

    This is a wonderful step, which should have been done much before. Anyways someone has said better late than never.

  8. Shobhana says:

    Only in India. . .I love India. . . .

  9. Radha Nirmal says:

    Ganga matha ki Jai

  10. Radhamohan Singh says:

    Right step to save the new generation to come.

  11. Selvaduri Sivagnanasundaram says:

    I was at Varnasi and my contact with river Ganges, the filthiest dirty water with all sort of skin disease and dead body floating all over the place very bad first impression

    Passing this law is first step If Indian is not going to change his way of living nothing will happen.
    Unless industrialist stop dumping their waste dyes and chemicals into the river , unauthorized buildings and the officers stop taking bribe Ministers and MLAs stop looting nothing will happen

  12. joyce slaughter says:

    I applaud this effort to legally recognize the River Ganga as a living entity, a human being. Has it not always been a living entity?
    I was shocked when I saw the Ganga on my last visit to India. Its banks were littered with trash. It pained me to see it so.

  13. Srinivasan Sarangachari Chari says:

    The Union Gocernment and the Local Govt should take necessary action to cleanse the river not simply wasting time on talking.

  14. S S Kere says:

    All rivers should be protected from pollution. Just declaring a river sacred or a ‘living entity’ is not going to clean it up. Regarding the 20 projects approved for Rs 1900 crores, it remains to be seen how much of the money will be eaten up by corruption.
    The religious have always considered India to be ‘holy land;’ but that doesn’t prevent garbage from being strewn in public places!

  15. Jim Bate says:

    I’m very grateful for this recognition of river Ganga. It is at least a step in the right direction.

  16. Deepak Narain says:

    At last, things seem to be moving in the right direction: first, a Yogi was elected as CM of UP and, now, a High Court has bestowed the status of a living entity on the sacred Ganga. Just wait, all good things will hereafter start happening in the life of all people with a pure Hindu leading the way.

  17. DR NARESH K CHAWLA says:

    IT IS GOOD TO PASS THE LAWS ABOUT RIVER GANGA BUT TO KEEP THE SACRED RIVER CLEAN,THE PEOPLE LIVING ALONG SIDE OF GANGA RIVER AND IN INDIA MUST BE AWAKENED AND EDUCATED TO KEEP GANGA CLEAN, BRING THE AWARENESS,STOP/ DIVERT THE DIRTY WASTE/ WATER FROM THE SEWAGE,FACTORIES,ETC;MUCH MORE TO KEEP THE HOLY / SACRED RIVER GANGA CLEAN,*********GET CLEAN WATER FROM HIMALAYAN SNOW******

  18. K.N.Savalappan says:

    Ganga is the source of life for many humans, animals, plants & trees.

  19. Meena Chalam says:

    Better late than never

  20. Gyandeo Persad says:

    Good! Now rebuild the Shiva murti in Rishikesh, otherwise this is just politics! Ganga comes from the head of Lord Shiva. You want to worship what Shivaji gave and at the same time insult Gangadhar?

  21. D.V.J. Vittal says:

    VERY INTRESTING information, which many of us are not aware D V J VITTAL

  22. PVAP SWAMY says:

    Bhakti and Jnanam refer to the same Tatvam(philosophy) and Ganga signifies that Tatvam . She is Bhakti Vaahini as well as Jnana Vaahini. Her origin is the at the lotus feet of Lord Narayana and so she acquires Bhakti Swarupam. A true devotee surrenders at the lotus feet of Lord Narayana by having a dip of the head in the holy waters of Ganges and sings the glory of Lord Narayana at the pitch of the voice till the throat is choked with Bhakti Rasam. Vakku is Agni Swarupam Agni is Havya Vaahana Rupam. Thus a devotee enjoys the divine nectar(Amtutam) through chanting of Hari Namam.

    Lord Siva holds Ganga in his Sundara Jataa Kalaapam on the head and so she acquires Jnana Swarupam. A true spiritual seeker performs the worship of Lord Siva by way of Abhishekam with the holy Ganga Jalam and Pancha Amrutamulu to Siva Lingam which signifies the head of Lord Siva till the hands are painful . The holy water of Ganga and Pancha Amrutamulu represent Jnanam and as Siva is Karunaavataaram ,his worship transforms Jnanam in to Bhuuta Daya( compassion and service to the needy people without any anything in return)

  23. Shona Bannerjee says:

    Did anyone ever think or hear that WATER has memory, you have repeatedly for centuries misused it, at some point it will PATIENCE.
    Would you allow someone to come & dirty your house & use it as a toilet, I think not. Try to think how would we live without water.
    I am at pain to see how a wonderful country like INDIA has no social skill nor understanding of hygiene.

  24. naidu rp says:

    very good news

  25. Mallikarjun says:

    Very good decision. Every river should get the rights.

  26. Shiv Sangar says:

    Very Good News Hare Krishna and Jai Jai Sita Ram and jai jai Ganga Ma ke!!!

  27. Jorge Mayorga says:

    I’m very grateful for this good decision…

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