SC: NGT can issue directions for future guidance, to avoid or prevent injury to the environment

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 14th July 2020, in the matter of The Director General (Road Development) National Highways Authority Of India v. Aam Aadmi Lokmanch & Ors.pronounced that general directions for future guidance, to avoid or prevent injury to the environment for appropriate assimilation in relevant rules, can be given by the NGT.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

The NGT has circumscribed jurisdiction to deal with, adjudicate, and wherever needed, direct measures such as payment of compensation, or make restitutionary directions in cases where the violation (i.e. harm caused due to pollution or exposure to hazards, etc.) are the result of infraction of any enactment listed in the first schedule. (Para 36)

The power and jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 under Sections 15(1)(b) and (c)  of the are not restitutionary, in the sense of restoring the environment to the position it was before the practise impugned, or before the incident occurred. The NGT’s jurisdiction in one sense is a remedial one, based on a reflexive exercise of its powers. In another sense, based on the nature of the abusive practice, its powers can also be preventive. (Para 71)

General directions for future guidance, to avoid or prevent injury to the environment for appropriate assimilation in relevant rules, can be given by the NGT. (Para 75)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_14-Jul-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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