NGT's Power To Take Suo Motu Cognizance Of Environmental Issues Upheld: Khaitan & Co.
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Khaitan & Co. Update
In a recent decision of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai versus Ankita Sinha and others, a three judge bench of Supreme Court of India held that the National Green Tribunal has power to take suo motu cognizance of environmental issues, even though the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 does not expressly provide it this power.
The judgment was rendered in a batch of connected matters with the same issue – whether the NGT has the power to exercise suo motu jurisdiction in discharge of its functions under the NGT Act.
The Court ruled that the NGT, which safeguards the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 'even in the absence of an application, can self-ignite action either towards amelioration or towards prevention of harm.'
At the same time, it clarified that NGT’s suo motu jurisdiction would be subject to the principles of natural justice and fair play – before passing an adverse order, an opportunity of hearing should be provided to a party that is likely to be affected by NGT’s order.
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