The National Green Tribunal July 16 refused to review its order imposing an interim penalty of Rs 10 crore on three builders in Gurgaon for violation of environmental norms and damaging the environment. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said there was "no merit" in the review plea filed by Ansal Buildwell Ltd, and its sister concern Aadharshila Towers Private Ltd and Rigoss Estate Networks Private Ltd.
"The order was passed on the basis of the findings and recommendations of the Committee constituted by this Tribunal which found certain statuary violations by the review petitioners. There is no error apparent on the face of the record," the bench, also comprising Justice K Ramakrishnan, said.
The green panel further said that posting the review petition before the tribunal for open hearing is only discretion of the tribunal and only if it is satisfied that further hearing is required on that matter.
"Further under Rule 22 of National Green Tribunal (Practices and Procedure) Rules, 2011, the application for review has to be filed within 30 days and it will be decided by the members who passed the order by circulation. There is no power to condone the delay as section 5 of the Limitation Act is not applicable," it said.
The NGT said the review plea as well as the application to condone delay lack merits and liable to be dismissed.
The tribunal in March had imposed the environment compensation after noting that consent to establish and operate has not been obtained by the builders in Sushant Lok 2 and 3, as required under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
The CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) will be entitled to charge interest at the rate of 12 per cent for any delay and to recover the amount from them by adopting appropriate coercive measures as per the law, the tribunal had said.
It had also held that since neither environmental clearance nor consent to establish and operate has been taken under the Water Act, the builders will have to furnish performance guarantee of Rs 5 crores to the satisfaction of the CPCB within a month, undertaking to comply with the statutory norms within three months.
The direction came on a plea filed by Rajendra Kumar Goel, Bala Yadav and others, who are residents of Sushant Lok 3 and 2 in Gurgaon, alleging that the builders have encroached on the green belt, the open area meant for park, roads, etc, with the connivance of the authorities.
"They developed huge housing/residential township project on 200 acres of land without obtaining environmental clearance. The area has already been sold except 30 per cent which is of the value of more than Rs 1,000 crore. 45 per cent of the area is required to be left for parks, green belts, etc. which has not been left. Illegal activities have resulted in air pollution. There is no proper garbage disposal system. Sewage is being discharged into a drain which is connected to river Yamuna," the plea alleged.