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Madras High Court stresses that NGT orders should apply pan India

That is, change of source from imported coal to domestic coal, or domestic coal to imported coal, or blending of both for use in thermal power plants.

Published: 10th July 2021 04:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th July 2021 04:41 AM   |  A+A-

Madras High Court

Madras High Court (File photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday stressed that orders passed by all benches of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) apply pan India, and the principal bench of the NGT is not superior to any other bench. “Each bench of the NGT will have jurisdiction over a specified area and there is no superior power to any bench.

Though the Northern Zone Bench at Delhi is called the principal bench, it is prima facie contrary to the scheme of the NGT Act as the Act does not speak about any principal bench,” a division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice TV Thamilselvi ordered.

The issue pertains to a plea challenging an order passed by the southern bench of the NGT dated June 15, transferring a case to the principal bench as the southern bench felt the order to be passed based on the petition would have a pan-India effect and hence, it had to be heard by the principal bench in New Delhi.

The petitioner challenged the official memorandum of the Central government dated November 11, 2020, by which it stated that no fresh environmental impact assessment is required in case of a change of coal sources by industries. That is, change of source from imported coal to domestic coal, or domestic coal to imported coal, or blending of both for use in thermal power plants.

A decision given by any bench of the NGT will have a pan-India effect and it cannot be said that only if the issue is decided by the bench at Delhi, will it have a pan-India effect, the court observed. When the plea came up for hearing, the southern bench of the NGT opined that the principal bench can exercise powers over the whole of India apart from exercising power within its jurisdiction.



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