Courts Update SC issues notice on plea challenging NGT order against...

SC issues notice on plea challenging NGT order against construction around lakes in Karnataka

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New Delhi Aug 26(ILNS): The Supreme Court issued notice on an appeal filed by building construction companies challenging the order of the National Green Tribunal which had quashed the Environmental Clearance granted to them for construction of a project allegedly damaging the ecology of two lakes namely ‘Kaikondarahalli Lake’ and ‘Kasavanahalli Lake’ in Karnataka. 

The appeal before the Apex Court has been filed by Wonder Projects Development Private Limited and Godrej Private Limited against the order passed by the Green Tribunal on July 31, 2021, which had also directed them to deposit ₹31 Crore within one month for demolition of the construction raised by them and restored the area to the original position, rejuvenation, and reforestation, etc. of the ‘Kaikondarahalli Lake’ and surrounding area. 

The bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant has issued notice. The Court has directed the respondent no 2/H.P. Rajanna to file counter-affidavit. “In the meantime, status quo, as it exists today, shall be maintained by the parties,” said the Court in its order.

The NGT, in its order dated July 30, 2021 order, had passed a slew of directions. “Sustainable development is the key word for protection of environment, including the wetland. It means that simultaneous development has to be allowed, but not at the cost of one or another. In the name of development, environment cannot be allowed to die, may be a slow death,” noted the Tribunal.

The order was passed by the NGT Principal Bench led by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel which has further noted, “Nature has provided a lot of water to the mankind but we are not realising how much important it is for us to preserve and protect water which is available in different forms.”

The NGT had stopped the Construction activities and passed directions for its demolition and had directed the State Wetland Authority and BBMP to take steps for restoration and rejuvenation of the area as originally it was. 

The NGT had also imposed the cost of Rs 10 lakh on “Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike” which allowed construction/alteration of Storm

Water Drain passing through the project site illegally and directed that the said amount paid by it shall be deposited in Environmental Compensation Fund and utilized for restoration and rejuvenation of environment. 

Further, the Green Tribunal had also imposed a litigation cost of ₹ 20 Lacs on both construction companies and directed the same shall be deposited with CPCB, for utilizing the same for protection and preservation of the environment. 

The Green Tribunal passed its order in an appeal filed by H.P. Ranjana complaining about a violation of environmental laws and damage to the environment on account of a project launched by appellant  M/s. Wonder Projects Development Private Limited, M/s. Godrej Private Limited, mainly on the ground that the project is abutting to ―Kaikondarahalli Lake, has violated environment laws including provisions relating to wetlands and Rajakaluves which are passing through or around the proposed project./ILNS/KR/SNG

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