- In 2018, the principal bench of the NGT pursued an article named ‘Garbage Gangs of Deonar: The Kingpins and Their Multi-Crore Trade' and treated it as an application under Section 14 of the NGT Act and took cognizance of the issue.
- It directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to hold a joint inspection and make plans to control the pollution.
- The Tribunal directed Municipal Corporation Greater Mumbai to pay a compensation of Rs 5 crore to the CPCB against the inability to control pollution.
- The said order of the National Green Tribunal was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2019.
- The present petition was filed before the Supreme Court challenging the order of the NGT where it took cognizance of the issue.
- Senior Advocate A. N. S. Nadkarni informed the Court that the NGT cannot act as a constitutional court and take cognizance of matters like that done by HCs and the SC under Article 32 and 226 of the Constitution.
- He referred to the Supreme Court decision in Rajendra Singh Bhandari's case and stated that for NGT to take cognizance of any matter, it should look into the fact whether there is a substantial question of environmental pollution and it also needed a complainant or an applicant to look into any issue.
OBSERVATION AND ORDER
- Justice Khanwilkar observed that the power of the NGT is not limited to original applications and that Section 14(1) of the NGT Act states that the Tribunal will have jurisdiction over all civil cases, where there is a substantial question relating to the environment.
- Justice Khanna added to it, stating that not giving authority to take cognizance of issues suo motu to the NGT will result in curtailing the powers vested to the NGT.
- The Bench asked the parties to file their submission and also a list of authorities they intended to rely on and posted the matter to be further heard on 25th August.
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