Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan, CJ. and N.S. Dhanik, J. entertained a petition seeking a writ of certiorari to quash the order passed by Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board. 

The learned counsel for the petitioner, Vikas Kumar Guglani, submitted that impugned order by the respondent of the closure of the Unit due to several deficiencies in the said unit must be quashed and the unit must be de-sealed. After the rectification of the deficiencies noted by the Pollution Control Board and complying with the stipulated norms, the unit is still closed as the authority has not given a clean chit for de-sealing. 

Further the learned counsel for the respondent, Aditya Pratap Singh, submitted that the petitioner’s representation would only be considered in accordance with law after an inspection of the unit would be caused again by the officials of the Pollution Control Board to satisfy themselves that the petitioner’s claim of having complied with the stipulated norms were valid or not. He contended that necessary orders would be passed thereafter in accordance with law with utmost expedition. 

The Court, in this regard, observed that petitioner’s unit was closed for a week, thus directing the Board to conduct and examine the unit and cause an inspection of the subject unit. It is also important that the respondent must be satisfied that the petitioner has complied with the said norms and thereafter make any decision as it is a matter related to public interest and environment. [Eurasia Door Devices v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 346, decided on 03-05-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Green Tribunal (NGT): A Division Bench comprising of Raghuvendra S. Rathore, Judicial Member and Satyawan Singh, Expert Member, emphasized the duty of the State towards compliance with relation to environmental laws.

The construction in question was raised without obtaining consent to establish the State’s new Legislative Assembly building from the Pollution Control Board, and Central Ground Water Authority. It was argued that obtaining environmental clearance was not required because the total built-up area was less than 20,000 sq mtrs.

But the fact that due to further construction, the area has been raised and now the total built-up area was more than 25,000 sq mtrs thereby making it as mandatory for the respondents to obtain environmental clearance for the same.

The Tribunal expressed its surprise with respect to the act of the respondents by stating that they should have taken steps for obtaining the consent for the environment clearance when the idea of the new construction was so proposed but the same was never done. The Tribunal also observed that in order to confine the construction up to 25,000 sq mtrs, the respondents deliberately initially raised the construction by keeping it within the range of 20,000 sq mtrs so that subsequent construction would not show that they exceeded the limit from the very beginning. The Tribunal pressed upon the fact that the respondents ought to have obtained environmental clearance the moment they felt the need for additional construction, which was now admittedly more than 25,000 sq mtrs. Moreover, compliance of law and the steps to be taken towards it was all the more necessary because the building was a State Legislative Assembly.

The Tribunal concluded by emphasizing the sincerity with which the respondents must have acted, and non-compliance of law by the authorities itself would set a wrong example especially when the matter was concerned with environmental law and they were duty bound towards it. [Vikrant Tongad v. Union of India, O.A No. 529 of 2016 (M. A. No. 988/2016), 13-09-2018]