Nainital, March 21: Some refer her as ‘Mother Ganga’ while some dive in it to clear their sins of life. The holy river ‘Ganga’ is India’s longest river and is treated as the Goddess. For the first time in India Ganga will be identified as a ‘legal identity’ after the Uttarakhand High Court declare Ganga as “first living entity’ in India which will have same rights as human beings. Similar status has been given to Yamuna, the tributary of Ganga.On Monday, the High Court of Uttarakhand recognized Ganga River as living identity and it will have the same rights and responsibilities as human beings. A bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Alok Singh observed that to protect the recognition and the faith of society, rivers Ganga and Yamuna were required to be declared as living persons. The same thing happened when the New Zealand parliament gave legal identity to its ‘Wanghanui River’ as it possesses cultural significance for Maori people.
The bench said that “All the Hindus have deep Astha in rivers Ganga and Yamuna and they collectively connect with these rivers. Rivers Ganga and Yamuna are central to the existence of half of Indian population and their health and well being. The rivers have provided both physical and spiritual sustenance to all of us from time immemorial. Rivers Ganga and Yamuna have spiritual and physical sustenance. They support and assist both the life and natural resources and health and well-being of the entire community. Rivers Ganga and Yamuna are breathing, living and sustaining the communities from mountains to sea.” The Bench also directed the Advocate General to represent at all legal proceedings to protect the interest of rivers Ganges and Yamuna. "The Ganga should be saved for the generations to come," the court added.
Water resources minister Uma Bharati has said her ministry has undertaken a sustained multi-faceted approach to keep the river clean. She said that “We love ‘Mother Ganga’.”
Earlier Eucador became the first country to recognize the ‘rights of nature’ in its Constitution. Few days ago, New Zealand declared its ‘Wanghanui River’ as legal identity and now comes the ruling of Uttarakhand High Court to declare ‘Mother Ganga’ as a ‘living identity’.
As Ganga is severely affected with pollutants several initiatives were undertaken to clean Ganga River. As the ecological system is on the verge of extinction, it is essential to preserve water bodies and natural resources for human survival. Projects like ‘Namami Gange’, ‘Clean Ganga Project’ and many more have come up to combat the polluted Ganga. The Director, Namami Gange project for cleaning and rejuvenating the river, and the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Uttarakhand have been charged to protect, conserve and preserve the rivers and their tributaries.
The whole proceedings and the judgements can be read here: