NEW DELHI, Feb 7 : In an uncommon order, the Supreme Court docket has pulled up the Nationwide Inexperienced Tribunal (NGT) for its “recurrent engagement” in “unilateral choice making” and cautioned that in “its zealous quest for justice, the tribunal should tread fastidiously to keep away from the oversight of propriety”.
These exhausting hitting observations have been made by a bench of Justices P S Narasimha and Aravind Kumar in its verdict on appeals filed by a Delhi-based enterprise enterprises, which has challenged two orders of the inexperienced panel the place it had slapped positive on the agency, in a suo motu proceedings for polluting the surroundings, with out even giving it a chance to be heard.
“The Nationwide Inexperienced Tribunal’s recurrent engagement in unilateral choice making, provisioning ex-post facto evaluation hearings and routinely dismissing it has regrettably change into a prevailing norm. In its zealous quest for justice, the tribunal should tread fastidiously to keep away from the oversight of propriety,” the bench stated in its January 30 order, uploaded on Wednesday.
It added that the apply of ex-parte orders and the imposition of damages amounting to crores of rupees, have confirmed to be a counterproductive power within the broader mission of environmental safeguarding.
The bench stated that considerably, these orders of the NGT have persistently confronted stays from the apex courtroom, ensuing within the unraveling of the commendable efforts put forth by the members, legal professionals, and different stakeholders.
“It’s crucial for the tribunal to infuse a renewed sense of procedural integrity, guaranteeing that its actions resonate with a harmonious stability between justice and due course of. Solely then can it reclaim its standing as a beacon of environmental safety, the place well-intentioned endeavours are usually not merely washed away,” it stated.
The bench famous that these appeals come up out of two orders handed by the NGT on August 31, 2021 and on November 26, 2021.
“The principle order arises out of an ex parte order in suo motu proceedings holding the appellants to be responsible and directing fee of compensation. The second order is the dismissal of the evaluation petition filed by the appellant No.2 alleging that he had not been given a chance earlier than an adversarial order was handed towards him,” the bench famous in its verdict.
Referring to the orders, the bench stated that it’s evident from them that the tribunal itself has famous that notices weren’t issued to the undertaking proponents.
“The tribunal, the truth is, considers it pointless to listen to the undertaking proponent to confirm the information in challenge. The tribunal thought it acceptable to undertake this technique in view of a Joint Inspection Report that had been submitted. The individuals who have been prejudiced by the order of the tribunal naturally filed evaluation petitions earlier than the tribunal. Appellant No. 2 is one among them. The evaluation petition was taken up and dismissed by the tribunal on November 26, 2021,” it stated.
The bench stated it seems that the appellants didn’t have a full alternative to contest the matter and place all their defences earlier than the tribunal.
“They filed this attraction and by order dated March 4, 2022, this Court docket stayed the judgment and order handed by the tribunal. This was inevitable. Two years have handed by and the keep remains to be working. We’ve no different various besides to put aside the orders dated August 31, 2021 and November 26, 2021 and remand the matter again to the tribunal,” the highest courtroom stated, because it put aside the orders of the NGT and remanded the matter again to the tribunal.
It directed the inexperienced panel to challenge discover to all of the affected events, hear them after which cross acceptable orders.
The bench, nevertheless, stated that the tribunal shall hear the case, uninfluenced by the observations and conclusions drawn within the orders dated August 31, 2021 and November 26, 2021.
“We make it clear that this order doesn’t cope with the deserves of the matter and the actions of these responsible of statutory and environmental violation should be topic to strict scrutiny and authorized penalties,” it stated. (PTI)
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