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Indian court gives legal human rights Ganges, Yamuna sacred rivers

Indian court gives legal human rights Ganges, Yamuna sacred riversUttarakhand state's High Court ruled Monday that the two rivers be accorded the status of living human entities, meaning that if anyone harms or pollutes either river, the law would view it as no different from harming a person.

This is reported by Associated Press.

The judges cited the example of New Zealand's Whanganui River, revered by the indigenous Maori people. The Whanganui was declared a living entity with full legal rights by the New Zealand government last week.

The Uttarakhand court, located in the Himalayan hill resort town of Nainital, appointed three officials to act as legal custodians responsible for conserving and protecting the two Indian rivers and their tributaries.

Judges Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh said the Ganges and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries to be declared "legal and living entities having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities."

The case came up in court after officials complained that the governments of Uttarakhand and the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh were not cooperating with federal government efforts to set up a panel to protect the Ganges.
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