The TrickyScribe: National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday observed that 50 percent of the cases being filed at the green panel were “cases of blackmailers” and “not related to the environment.” The observations came while the green panel was hearing a plea that sought a stay on the construction of a 70-story building in Mathura by ISKCON.
Asserting that the tribunal will only deal with cases related to the environment, a bench headed by NGT chairman Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “Nowadays, 50% of cases are of blackmailers…Earlier we used to issue notices…but now we are not issuing notices and disposing of the cases.”
The bench noted that ISKCON had all requisite permissions and asked the petitioner to approach authorities for its grievances. The petitioner had alleged that the building, that is touted to be the tallest religious monument in the world, will adversely affect the environment as it is in the vicinity of the Yamuna.
It may be mentioned here that NGT was established in October, 2010, under National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The NGT is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
The NGT‘s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. The Tribunal is mandated to make an endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same. Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible. New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four place of sitting of the Tribunal.
READ MORE: NGT against Principles of Natural Justice
Expressing views coherent to that of the NGT bench, advocate Pratyush Prasanna recollected a 2013 case wherein there was a dispute between the builder and the buyers regarding a Gurugram-based project and told The TrickyScribe that the actual dispute was over the refund of amount and rate of interest that was to be paid by the builder but the buyers took the case to the tribunal. Advocate Prasanna said there are people who take random cases to the Tribunal thereby wasting the bench’s time. Interestingly, the said case was later compromised between the parties and the complainants withdrew the matter.