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Ganga, Yamuna termed ‘living persons’ (Relevant for GS Prelims and GS Mains Paper II, III)

Uttarakhand HC names officials to act as parents for the rivers and tributaries.In a first in the country, the Uttarakhand High Court, declared that the rivers Ganga and Yamuna were “living persons.”

First river declared living in the world
On March 15, New Zealand river Whanganui became the first in the world to be granted a legal human status.

Why was this order passed?
It was in response to a PIL.

“The Ganga and [the] Yamuna, all their tributaries, streams… are declared as juristic [or] legal persons [or] living entities having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person in order to preserve and conserve river Ganga and Yamuna”

Reason behind the move
They have been in a state of neglect and even though several government initiatives, including the Centre’s Namami Gange programme, are aimed at restoring their health, not much has been achieved yet.

The court ordered that the Director of the Namami Gange programme, the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary, and the Advocate-General of Uttarakhand would serve as “parents” for the rivers and would be the human faces to “protect, conserve and preserve” the rivers and their tributaries.



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