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SC quashes NGT's order halting construction work at Rushikonda Hills

ANI | Updated: Jun 01, 2022 15:27 IST

New Delhi [India], June 1 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed the proceedings before National Green Tribunal (NGT) which halted the construction work at Rushikonda Hills in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Hima Kohli said that orders of the High Court would prevail over NGT in case of contradicting orders passed by the High Court and the green tribunal.
"The contradicting orders of the High Court and the National Green Tribunal would leave to an anomalous situation, as authorities wouldn't know which order to follow. In such a case, orders of the Constitutional Court would prevail over orders of the Tribunal," the bench said.
The apex court was hearing a plea of the State of Andhra Pradesh against orders of the NGT which halted the construction works at Rushikonda Hills in Visakhapatnam as part of a tourism project.
It observed that it wasn't appropriate on part of NGT to continue proceedings before it specifically when it was pointed out that the High court was seized of the matter and had passed orders.
The top court said that the continuation of proceedings before NGT when the High Court is seized of the same issue will not be in the interest of justice, hence it directed the parties to approach the High Court for appropriate orders.
The bench also observed that though development is necessary for the economic development of the nation, it is equally necessary to safeguard the environment to preserve a pollution-free environment for future generations.
It directed that until the High Court takes a fresh call on the issue of construction, the construction will be permitted only in the flat areas, the area where construction existed earlier and was later demolished. It clarified that until the High Court considers the issue, no construction will be carried out on an area excavated from the hills.
The NGT had passed the order on a letter written to it by MP K Raghu Ramakrishna Raju, alleging violation of CRZ norms by the project.
The NGT's order came even as Andhra Pradesh High Court in December allowed the work to go on as the State claimed to have received all statutory clearances. (ANI)