UTTARAKHAND, INDIA, March 21, 2017 (THe Tribune):Exercising extraordinary jurisdiction vested in the court, a division bench of Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh of the High Court said, "Holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna have been declared to be treated as living human entities." Agreeing with advocate MC Pant, the court cited the example of river Whanganui in New Zealand which has been given such status.
Giving the "legal status" of living humans to the holy rivers, the court ordered that the Director, Namami Gange project for cleaning and rejuvenating the river, the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Uttarakhand will act as the "legal parents" of the holy rivers and work as the human face to protect, conserve and preserve them and their tributaries. These officers will be bound to "uphold the status" of the two rivers and also promote their "health and well being", the court said. On the court ruling, Union minister for water resources Uma Bharti said, "We have always considered Ganga as mother and a mother is a living person. The court has endorsed our point of view."
HPI note: It is also the case in Indian law that the Deity of a temple is a legal "person," with the temple properties being held in the Deity's name.