Supreme Court upholds National Green Tribunal order on WGEEP report
News Credit: J. Venkatesan, The Hindu
October 8, 2013
(Unedited): The Supreme Court, on Monday, refused to intervene in an order passed by the National Green Tribunal directing the Kerala government to adhere to the report of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), headed by Madhav Gadgil, veteran environmentalist, while granting environmental clearance.
A Bench, comprising Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice M.Y. Eqbal, dismissed the government’s appeal after hearing Krishnan Venugopal, senior counsel appearing for the State.
When counsel said the tribunal had no jurisdiction to give such a direction to the State as the recommendations in the report could not be enforced, Justice Dattu said: “If the Green Tribunal is not the authority, which authority can do that? You [State] must feel happy that you have the benefit of the committee’s recommendations and you should not be coming to this court on appeal.”
Counsel said both sustainable development and environment protection must go hand in hand and the Centre had appointed another committee, headed by K. Kasturirangan, to study the report.
Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran informed the court that the committee had submitted its report and the government was considering it.
Justice Dattu said: “The Western Ghats needs protection. As long as Gadgil committee report is there, it should be implemented. If the report is rejected, then you do according to law.”
In its appeal, the State said the tribunal’s direction would impede the development process in the State. It sought quashing of the order and an interim stay of its operation.
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