MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court directed the Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority, Chennai to open a separate account under the name ‘Environmental Fund’ in which amounts received from various courts, in the form of costs ordered to parties by the court under the head or voluntary remittance, could be deposited and utilised for the purpose of preserving the environment.
Justice D Krishnakumar, while hearing a civil revision petition, stated that previously when parties were voluntarily willing to contribute some amount to any welfare measures, the court was ordering remittance of amounts to various organisations under different heads.
Changing this practice, the Judge on June 20, passed an order directing the Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority, Chennai to open a separate account under the title ‘Environmental Fund’ for expenditures related to protection of the environment. He stated that whenever costs are ordered and received by any of the courts in the State under the above said fund, the member secretary shall remit the amount into the account.
Though ‘right to clean environment’ is one of the fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it is also necessary for the same environment to be protected and preserved by the citizen, which can be done through planting of more trees, said the Judge adding that therefore, it is appropriate that the costs received from courts also to be paid to the ‘Environmental Fund’.
He further directed the Registry to place this order before the Chief Justice for obtaining necessary orders. He further said that District/ Taluk Legal Services Authorities could submit proposals to the member secretary requesting for release of amounts from the ‘Environmental Funds’ towards planting, developing and maintaining trees in the court or public premises by specifying clearly the cost involved in the activity.
Justice Krishnakumar gave the direction while disposing of a civil revision petition filed in 2010 which he had later referred to the Mediation and Conciliation Centre, Chennai.