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NGT has suo motu powers to act on environmental issues, says Supreme Court

The green panel can initiatee proceedings on the basis of letters, representations and media reports, the country’s top court has said

October 07, 2021 / 03:50 PM IST

The National Green Tribunal has the power to initiate proceedings on its own on environmental issues, the Supreme Court said on October 7.

The green panel could take suo motu cognisance of a matter on the basis of letters, representations and media reports, the country’s top court.

A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar delivered the judgment on a batch of petitions that questioned if NGT had suo motu powers.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh had argued that as NGT had the power to pass orders for the restitution of the environment, it could exercise suo motu powers.

But a battery of senior advocates opposed the argument, saying only constitutional courts could exercise suo motu powers and a statutory tribunal like the NGT had to act within the confines of its parent law.


Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, held that the NGT didn’t have the power to take cognisance of a matter on its own but she also contended that its powers couldn’t be bound by procedural constraints.

"This is a peculiar tribunal dealing with environmental matters. Often, the environment ends up being nobody's baby," she said.

The bench had asked her if the tribunal were to receive some information in connection with the environment would it be duty-bound to initiate the process?

Once a letter or communication was received by NGT, it was within its power to take cognisance of it, IANS reported the ASG as saying.

(With inputs from agencies)

Moneycontrol News
first published: Oct 7, 2021 03:50 pm

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