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Supreme Court: NGT has Suo Motu powers to take up environmental issues

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LAW INSIDER IN

Alka Verma-

Published On: October 12, 2021 at 13:10 IST

The Supreme Court of India has announced that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is unique forum and it possess all the Suo Motu powers to take up the environmental issues across the country.

A three-Judge Bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and C.T. Ravikumar stated that the Tribunal has no need to wait for any “metaphorical Godot” which will knock its portal to flex its muscles to save the environment.

The exercise of power by the NGT is not circumscribed by the receipt of applications. When substantial questions relating to the environment arise and the issue is civil in nature and those relate to the Act, the NGT, in our opinion, even in the absence of an application, can self-ignite action either towards amelioration or towards prevention of harm,” stated the Bench.

Justice Roy quashed all objections from the Centre, legal experts and even Court’s Amicus Curiae who all argued that the NGT do not possess any Suo motu powers.

Furthermore, Justice Roy explained that the role of the NGT was not only adjudicatory in nature but the Tribunal also has to perform all the preventative, ameliorative or remedial roles to save the environment.

“The functional capacity of the NGT was intended to leverage wide powers to do full justice in its environmental mandate,” stated Justice Roy.

While giving the Judgement, the Bench also emphasized on the point that the Tribunal performs all international obligation India owed to the environment.

“The NGT has been recognised as one of the most progressive Tribunals in the world. This jurisprudential leap has allowed our country to enter a rather exclusive group of nations which have set up such institutions with broad powers,” added Justice Roy.

Adding to it, the Bench stated that the NGT has shown its concern to address societal concerns and thus no rules shall restrict the intended Nobel work the Tribunal.

It should be noted here in its Judgement, the Apex Court described the NGT as a complimentary, competent, specialised forum to deal with all environmental multidisciplinary issues.

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