Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has the power to take suo motu cognizance - on the basis of letters, representations, and media reports -- and can initiate proceedings on its own on issues pertaining to the environment.

A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy, and C.T. Ravikumar delivered the judgment on a batch of petitions which raised the issue of whether the NGT has suo motu jurisdiction.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh had argued that the NGT has been conferred powers to pass orders for the restitution of the environment, hence it can exercise suo motu powers. However, a battery of senior advocates opposed his arguments, stating that only constitutional courts can exercise suo motu powers and a statutory tribunal like the NGT has to act within the confines of its parent law.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, held that the NGT does not have the power to take cognizance of a matter on its own. But she also contended that the tribunal's powers cannot be bound by procedural constraints.

"This is a peculiar tribunal dealing with environmental matters. Often, the environment ends up being nobody's baby," she said.

The bench had queried her that if the tribunal were to receive a piece of information in connection with the environment, will it not be duty-bound to initiate the process? The ASG responded that once a letter or communication is received by the tribunal, it is within its power to take cognizance of it.

On September 8, the bench had reserved a verdict on the issue. Senior advocate Anand Grover, amicus curiae in the case, had opined that the NGT cannot exercise suo motu powers on the basis of letters, representations, or media reports. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: National Green Tribunal, India, Supreme Court, Environment, Suo Motu Powers.


The original flavor of Braj culture is dying a slow but sure death, feel the locals. Pixabay

The construction frenzy being witnessed all over the Braj Mandal (Sri Krishna-Radha Land) that annually draws millions of devout ‘bhakts’ and pilgrims, is destroying the essential pastoral character of the area. Green activists are sore over the concretization of pathways, laying of roads on the conventional ‘parikrama’ routes in Govardhan and Vrindavan, the rising structures and hordes of new temples and ashrams with modern amenities that have come up all over fouling the pristine glory of the holy land.

The mandarins in the Mathura-Vrindavan Development Authority (MVDA) and the Teerth Vikas Parishad, are being accused of destroying the original ambiance of the Braj, which was covered by dense forests, mangroves, ponds, and streams. The questionable penchant for the so-called up-gradation and modernization of amenities has vitiated the flavor and vibes that emanated from the landscape, reflects the lack of long-term vision and commitment to conserve the essential heritage character of the Braj Mandal, revered by millions of Sri Krishna bhakts globally.

Keep Reading Show less
"We feel government should also take cognizance of the various tobacco companies and impose Cess on them to reimburse the expense of disposing off these hazardous cigarette and bidi butts," says Salkar. Unsplash

The National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication on Sunday welcomed the direction of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to lay down guidelines for disposal of cigarette and bidi butts within three months.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Secretary of the anti-tobacco organisation, Goa-based oncologist Shekhar Salkar said that the step taken by the NGT was “pathbreaking” and in sync with healthy and sustainable environment practices.

Keep Reading Show less
A pile of garbage lies on the riverbank along the Ganges riverfront known as "Har ki Pauri," the most sacred spot in the Hindu holy town of Haridwar where devotees throng. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

On a gray monsoon morning, Darshana Kapoor picks her way gingerly through the slush on the riverbank after taking a dip in the Ganges River in Haridwar town, one of the most revered spots for Hindus.

But the ritual bath that Hindus believe absolves a lifetime of sins was not an uplifting experience for her. “My faith brought me here, but when I see the garbage floating in the river, I felt so bad. I had to scrub myself,” she said.

Keep reading... Show less