Supreme Court Expresses Concern Over NGT’s Practice of Issuing Unilateral Ex-Parte Orders with Penalties


LI Network

Published on: February 7, 2024 at 13:00 IST

In a recent development, the Supreme Court has raised concerns about the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) tendency to issue ex-parte orders and impose penalties.

Justice PS Narasimha, authoring the judgment, highlighted that this approach has unfortunately become a prevailing norm within the NGT.

The Supreme Court expressed its discontent, stating, “The National Green Tribunal’s recurrent engagement in unilateral decision-making, providing ex-post facto review hearings and routinely dismissing them, has regrettably become a prevailing norm. In its zealous quest for justice, the Tribunal must tread carefully to avoid the oversight of propriety. The practice of ex-parte orders and the imposition of damages amounting to crores of rupees have proven to be a counterproductive force in the broader mission of environmental safeguarding.”

The Court emphasized that such orders have consistently faced stays from the Supreme Court and urged the NGT to infuse a renewed sense of procedural integrity. The aim is to ensure that the Tribunal’s actions strike a harmonious balance between justice and due process, ultimately reclaiming its status as a beacon of environmental protection.

The Division Bench, also featuring Justice Aravind Kumar, stressed the importance of procedural integrity in balancing justice and due process. The Court urged the NGT to uphold this integrity to maintain its reputation as a guardian of environmental protection.

These observations arose during the Supreme Court’s consideration of two appeals challenging NGT’s orders. The Tribunal had passed an ex-parte order against the appellants in suo motu proceedings, directing compensation.

The Court, while acknowledging that no notices were issued to the project proponents and that the facts were not adequately verified, set aside the impugned orders and remanded the matter back to the NGT.

The Supreme Court emphasized that the NGT should hear the case impartially, uninfluenced by the observations and conclusions drawn in the previous orders.

Related Post