The Supreme Court has held that the National Green Tribunal has powers to execute its orders as decrees of civil court under Section 25 of the NGT Act. A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala held that the NGT was entrusted with the power to ensure that its orders are complied wit
The appellant had approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking remedial action to prevent untreated sewage and effluent being discharged in the storm water drains in Ghaziabad. NGT noted that the issue had already been dealt with by it in an earlier order related to remedial action required to prevent pollution of the river Yamuna and the drains and tributaries connected in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. As per the said order, dated 19th March 2021, the NGT had passed directions for independent assessment of flow in all the drains reaching Yamuna to be undertaken within next two months. It had also sought an action plan for setting up STPs to bridge the gap with definite and monitorable timelines. Further, the NGT had directed the stoppage of all sewage from sewered areas of Sahibabad Banthala and Indira Puri as per the Action Plan prepared by the State Government by December 20, among other things.
Accordingly, the appellant moved an execution application seeking execution of the said order. However, NGT, in its order, observed that the request made in the application “goes beyond what has been said in the order of the Tribunal dated 19 March 2021” and even otherwise, if there was a breach of the order of the Tribunal, the appellant would have to seek the remedy under Section 26 of the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. The Tribunal did not find that there was any case for taking recourse to its power under Section 25 for executing the order.
The NGT has power under Section 25 to execute its orders as decrees of a civil court. Section 26 is comprised in Chapter IV which deals with the penalty for failure to comply with the orders of the Tribunal.
The appellant's counsel Advocate Akash Vashishtha submitted before the Supreme Court that the NGT failed to read its own order that raised serious issues of pollution arising from the absence of sewerage infrastructure in the area notwithstanding that residents had been paying sewerage charges for last 27 years. The grievance of the appellant is that the power to impose a penalty under Section 26 will not redress the substratum or the grievance which is the discharge of untreated sewage and effluent and the absence of a sewerage system.
The Supreme Court held–
"The observation of the Tribunal that there was no case for executing the earlier order under Section 25 is misconceived. The Tribunal is entrusted with the wholesome power to ensure that its orders are complied with. The absence of sewerage facilities is an important aspect which would merit the exercise of powers by the Tribunal under Section 25. The invocation of the power to levy a penalty under Section 26 will not necessarily sub-serve the purpose."
Accordingly, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the NGT. It further directed the NGT to take up the application under Section 25 and consider what orders would be necessary to effectuate the original order dated 19 March 2021 of which execution was sought.
Case Title: Sushil Raghav v. Union of India | Civil Appeal No 1629 of 2022
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 140
For Appellant(s) Mr. Akash Vashishtha, Adv. Ms. Neelam Singh, AOR
For Respondent(s) Ms. Aishwarya Bhati, ASG Mr. Gurmeet Singh Makker, AOR Ms. Ruchi Kohli, Adv. Ms. Swarupma Chaturvedi, Adv. Mr. Manvendra Singh Rathore, Adv. Dr. Arun Kumar Yadav, Adv. Mrs. Niranjana Singh, AOR Mr. Avijit Roy, AOR Mr. Pradeep Misra, AOR Mr. Daleep Dhyani, Adv. Mr. Suraj Singh, Adv.
National Green Tribunal Act 2010 - Section 25 -The NGT has power under Section 25 to execute its orders as decrees of a civil court-The Tribunal is entrusted with the wholesome power to ensure that its orders are complied with - Para 5, 6