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Madras HC Dismisses For Non-Prosecution Plea Against NGT Order Mandating Suo Moto 'Pan-India' Matters To Be Heard Only By Principal Bench

Upasana Sajeev
22 March 2022 8:45 AM GMT
Madras HC Dismisses For Non-Prosecution Plea Against NGT Order Mandating Suo Moto Pan-India Matters To Be Heard Only By Principal Bench
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Madras High Court has recently dismissed a plea challenging the NGT Office Order which mandated that Pan India matters should be heard by the Principal Bench at New Delhi.The first bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy dismissed the plea for non-prosecution."None appears for the petitioner. Mr V.Vasantha Kumar, learned counsel appears on...

Madras High Court has recently dismissed a plea challenging the NGT Office Order which mandated that Pan India matters should be heard by the Principal Bench at New Delhi.

The first bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy dismissed the plea for non-prosecution.
"None appears for the petitioner. Mr V.Vasantha Kumar, learned counsel appears on behalf of the first respondent and Mr M.Karthikeyan, learned counsel, appears on behalf of the second respondent. The writ petition is, accordingly, dismissed for non-prosecution", the court noted while dismissing the petition and closing the miscellaneous applications.
The plea was filed by one Meenava Thanthai K.R Selvaraj to quash the Office Order dated 12.06.2021 bearing No.NGT/PB/Judl./18/2020/221 issued by the Registrar General of the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The order had directed that suo motu matters having pan-India or inter-state implications will be henceforth listed before the Principal Bench of at least three members.
The petitioner had argued that the order was in violation of the NGT Act which states that a Bench must have an equal number of judicial members and expert members.
A Bench comprising then Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu had earlier stayed the office order pending disposal of the appeal and had directed the respondents to file their counter.
The respondents stated that the petition was filed on an erroneous interpretation of the National Green Tribunal Act, its rules and notifications.
The respondents further argued that the office order neither restrains any aggrieved person from approaching any of the Benches of National Green Tribunal for enforcement of legal right nor takes away the jurisdiction of any of the Benches to adjudicate a dispute pending before the respective Benches of NGT as conceived by the Petitioner.
The respondents further submitted that the said Office Order was issued in compliance with the governing statute and rules in order to regulate the matters which are to be taken cognizance suo-motu by National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench and to maintain uniformity of decision in matters having Pan-India/ Inter-State implications.
Further, on a conjoint reading of clause (c) of sub-section (4) of Section 4, Sections 13 and 21 of NGT Act and Rule (5) of NGT (Practice and Procedure) Rules, 2011, it is clear that the Chairperson has abundant powers to constitute a bench with an odd number of members. The National Green Tribunal (Practice and Procedure) Rules, 2011 confers complete powers upon the Chairperson to administer the functioning of the National Green Tribunal, including the constitution of Circuit Bench. It was also contended that the Chairperson has powers to decide upon the place of sitting other than the place where the bench usually sits.
The respondents also argued that the order will not cause any hindrance to access to justice.
Advocates V. Vasantha Kumar and M Karthikeyan appeared for the respondents while there was no representation for the petitioners.

Case Title: Meenava Thanthai K.R.Selvaraj Kumar Meenavar Nala Sangam v. National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench & Anr.

Case No: W.P.No.15112 of 2021 and W.M.P.Nos.16009 and 16011 of 2021 

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 112

Click Here To Read/ Download Order

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