Case Title: Veena Gupta vs Central Pollution Control Board
A division bench of Justices PS Narasimha and Aravind Kumar of the Supreme Court criticizes the National Green Tribunal for issuing orders without hearing both the parties.
The bench set aside two ex-parte NGT orders holding the appellants guilty of pollution and directing them to pay compensation.
The appellants were proprietors of a project in Delhi and were held liable for a worker’s death.
They were operating without statutory consent and safety precautions.
The court found that the appellants did not have a full opportunity to contest the matter and placed their defence.
The bench also emphasized the significance of procedural integrity for the NGT, stressing the need for adherence to the due process of law and avoiding any oversight in relation to these aspects.
“The National Green Tribunal’s recurrent engagement in unilateral decision making, provisioning ex post facto review hearing and routinely dismissing it has regrettably become a prevailing norm. In its zealous quest for justice, the Tribunal must tread carefully to avoid the oversight of propriety. The practice of ex parte orders and the imposition of damages amounting to crores of rupees, have proven to be a counterproductive force in the broader mission of environmental safeguarding”.
The matter was remanded back to the NGT to decide afresh after issuing notice and hearing all affected parties