Tribune press service
New Delhi, October 7
Noting that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) can hardly afford to remain a “silent spectator when no one is knocking on their door,” the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the tribunal had the power to take suo motu action on the issues. environmental.
Noting that it must adopt an interpretation that supports the spirit of the public good and does not make India’s environmental watchdog “toothless and ineffective”, a bench led by Judge AM Khanwilkar said “that the NGT is vested with suo motu power in the exercise of his functions under the NGT Law of 2010.
The NGT can hardly afford to remain a “silent spectator when no one is knocking on their door” and the “non-intervention mode” for the tribunal, when faced with demands requiring an immediate and effective response, “would debilitate the forum” to do so. to discharge its responsibility, declared the highest court.
“It is vital for the well-being of the nation and its people to have a flexible mechanism to deal with all issues related to environmental damage and the resulting climate change so that we can leave a better environmental legacy, for our children and the following generations. , he noted.
The order came in the wake of petitions regarding the NGT’s power to exercise suo motu jurisdiction in the performance of its duties under the NGT Act of 2010.
Noting that access to justice can be hampered by illiteracy, lack of mobility, poverty or even lack of technical knowledge on the part of citizens, the highest court said: “So it is not not always possible for individuals to knock on court doors, and NGT in such demands must not be made dysfunctional.
“The NGT, with the distinct role assigned to it, can hardly afford to remain a silent spectator when no one is knocking on his door … The mode of non-intervention of the NGT, faced with demands requiring an immediate and effective response, the forum to discharge its responsibility and this must be excluded in the interests of justice, ”the highest court said in its 77-page verdict.
Describing the NGT as one of the “most progressive” tribunals in the world, he said the nature of the ecological imbalance “which is visible even in our time may reverberate and the unforeseen injustice of the future may not be able to cope with it. ‘to be treated within the framework of the borders drawn today’.