Pollution, especially air pollution, has been on the rise as a result of various factors including industrialization, population expansion etc. To ensure proper implementation of the legislations dealing with safety of the environment, the NGT has been bestowed with certain powers under Section 20 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 to pass orders or issue directions by applying the principles of “sustainable development, the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle.” The NGT Bench at Delhi passed a judgment dated 11.08.2016 issuing certain directives for the implementation of mechanisms in curbing air pollution in Kolkata and Howrah. However, on account of non-compliance of such judgment, the NGT imposed a fine to the tune of Rs. 5 Crores on the West Bengal Government for its failure in implementing the judgment of 11.08.2016.
While adjudicating upon the petition filed by Mr. Subhas Datta, the Bench of. Justice S.P. Wangdi, Justice K. Ramakrishnan and Dr. Nagin Nanda, Expert Member adjudicated and concluded that there has been gross negligence in implementation of the order of the NGT by the Government of West Bengal. The Bench further stated as follows:
“In M.C. Mehta Vs. Union of India (1996) 6 SCC 12 has been held that decline in quality of environment reflects failure of the authorities to perform their obligation under the Constitution and the mandate of laws. If the regulatory authorities either connive or act negligently by not taking prompt action to prevent, avoid or control damage to environment, natural resources, people’s health and property, the principle of accountability for restoration and compensation have to be applied. We may refer to M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India (2004) 12 SCC 118 in this regard. Apart from this, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has also laid down that the accountability cannot be restricted to the polluter alone but also upon the governmental agencies who are responsible for enforcement of the laws to prevent pollution.”
The Bench further imposed a penalty of Rs. 1 Crore per month in case the amount of Rs. 5 crore is deposited within two weeks from its order dated November 27, 2018 and further listed the matter on January 8, 2019 for the Government to file “a comprehensive affidavit dealing with all aspects as per directions contained in the judgement.”
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Order Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/16GZfgg4ZUnDoxaxWaHtilsGml3hBd2si/view