New Delhi [India], October 7 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is vested with suo motu power and can initiate proceedings on its own on issues relating to environmental damage.
A Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar said it is vital for the "wellbeing of the nation and its people" to have a flexible mechanism to address issues related to environmental damage so that a better legacy can be left for the future generations.
It must adopt an interpretation that sustains the spirit of public good and not render the environmental watchdog of the country "toothless and ineffective", the apex court said.
"It is accordingly declared that the NGT is vested with suo motu power in the discharge of its functions under the NGT Act," the verdict stated.
The verdict of the apex court came on a batch of petitions questioning the suo motu powers assumed by the NGT in the discharge of its functions under the NGT Act 2010. During the arguments on the issue, the Centre had said that suo motu power is not exercisable by NGT since the same has not been conferred on the tribunal under the Act.
"The NGT, with the distinct role envisaged for it, can hardly afford to remain a mute spectator when no one knocks on its door," the verdict stated.
"The hands-off mode for the NGT, when faced with exigencies requiring an immediate and effective response, would debilitate the forum from discharging its responsibility and this must be ruled out in the interest of justice," it added. (ANI)