The Supreme Court has stayed the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order directing the Maharashtra Government to pay ₹12000 crores as compensation for the failure to comply with the earlier orders for managing solid and liquid management.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra while issuing notice on the applications for condonation of delay in filing the appeals and on the appeals thus observed, “In the meantime, the direction issued by the National Green Tribunal requiring the State of Maharashtra to deposit an amount of Rs 12000 crores as compensation in a ‘separate ring-fenced account’ shall remain stayed”.

Further, on the oral request by the appellant, the Union of India was impleaded as a party respondent in the matter.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for the appellant.

The civil appeal challenged a judgment of the NGT in a review application on its previous order. In the original application, the Tribunal dealt with the issue of solid and liquid waste management as per orders of the Supreme Court dated September 2, 2014, in Almitra H. Patel vs. Union of India & Ors., Writ Petition No. 888/1996 (with regard to solid waste management) and dated February 22, 2017, in Paryavaran Suraksha vs. Union of India, W.P. No. 375/2012 (with regard to liquid waste management).

Therefore, noting the same, a bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson), Justice Sudhir Agarwal (Judicial Member) and Dr. A. Senthil Vel (Executive Member) in the impugned judgment observed, “…Review application does not put forward any tangible ground and is a mere expression of inability to pay compensation. This cannot be an excuse to avoid basic Constitutional responsibility of the State”.

“…Past assurances and timelines proposed have not been honoured. There is no other manner except coercive measures to enforce the law. Compliance cannot be avoided except at the cost of environment and public health. Funds have been or can be collected from waste generators as per law. In such circumstances, mere expressing financial inability is avoiding constitutional responsibility which is against rule of law. Continued pollution is serious offence by the State and its authorities which cannot be taken lightly. Liability having already accrued, mere statement that the State is unable to arrange funds is not a tenable plea”, the impugned order further read.

Cause Title: The State of Maharashtra v. National Green Tribunal

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