NGT ‘unhappy’ over MoEF’s practice of being unrepresented
The tribunal refrained from taking any “further action”, saying “the presence of MoEF in such cases is essential for full and complete adjudication of issues involved in this case
New Delhi: Expressing its displeasure over the absence of a representative of the Ministry of Environment and Forest in a sand mining case, The National Green Tribunal said that the MoEF “persists” in its “practice” of being unrepresented.
“Nobody is present on behalf of respondent 1 (MoEF). It had been assured to the Tribunal that there will be proper representation of MoEF before the Tribunal and all requisites steps in accordance with law would be taken.”
“We must regretfully note that the ministry persists even in the New Year in the practice of being unrepresented in non-compliance to the directions of the tribunal and despite the assurance by the higher authorities of the MoEF,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The tribunal refrained from taking any “further action”, saying “the presence of MoEF in such cases is essential for full and complete adjudication of issues involved in this case”. It said a copy of the order should be sent to the Secretary, MoEF.
The observations were made while hearing the plea of Uttar Pradesh resident Brij Mohan Yadav, who has alleged that illegal sand mining was being carried out in rivers Badain and Ken flowing through district Banda of the state.
The matter had first come before the NGT on September 30, last year, when the tribunal had issued notice to all the parties, including MoEF and sought their responses on Yadav’s plea.
Thereafter on October 22, the NGT had directed the state authorities to “ensure that no illegal mining is permitted in district Banda, Uttar Pradesh particularly in rivers Badain and Ken”.
However, yesterday, when the matter came up for hearing before the tribunal, there was no counsel representing the ministry. The NGT had on several occasions last year pulled up the ministry and also imposed costs on it twice for absence of its counsel in several matters.
Afterwards, senior ministry officials as well as an Additional Solicitor General had appeared before the tribunal and assured the tribunal that the MoEF will be properly represented.