May 25, 2012 03:43 PM
The Tribunal dismissed the plea of Janahit Seva Samiti saying the petition was filed after a delay of 294 days
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has refused to entertain a petition challenging the environment clearance (EC) granted to 9,900MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Park in Maharashtra‘s Ratnagiri district in West India on the ground that the plea was time barred, reports PTI.
The Tribunal dismissed the plea of Janahit Seva Samiti, an NGO,challenging the 26 November 2010 EC granted by Indian Ministry of
Environment and Forest (MoEF) to the project, saying the petition wasfiled after a delay of 294 days on 17 September 2011 and hence was”grossly barred by time”.
As per the NGT Act, a plea can be filed within 30 days of passing of an order sought to be challenged and the Tribunal, to its
satisfaction, can condone a further delay of 60 days.
“As stated earlier, this Tribunal being a statutory authority is bound by the provisions of the statute and cannot traverse beyond provisions of the NGT Act. Under Section-16 (relating to appellate jurisdiction of NGT) there is clear bar not to entertain appeal filed beyond 60 days,” a bench headed by Tribunal’s Acting Chairperson Justice AS Naidu said.
“Though this Tribunal is liberal in condoning the delay, as and when it finds sufficient reasons and is not super-technical, but then being
a statutory tribunal it cannot ignore the period stipulated in the statute.
“In view of the discussions made above, we are not inclined to condone the delay and dismiss this petition.
Consequently, the appeal also stands dismissed,” it added.
The plea was filed by Maharashtra-based NGO Janahit Seva Samiti contending that “project is likely to cause hazard to the environment
as well as ecology”.
The NGO had pleaded that the NGT Act came into force from 18 October 2010, but the Tribunal started functioning only from June 2011, and it (NGO) took all “effective and diligent steps to file the appeal as early as possible”.
The plea was “strongly opposed” by MoEF, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, contending that delay could not be condoned as they have “substantially gone ahead with the project”, incurred huge expenses and “any hindrance at this stage would cause great prejudice”.
The bench noted that as the Tribunal started functioning only from June 2011, the Supreme Court had in a judgement extended the period for filing an appeal by 60 days commencing from 30 May 2011 and “thus the last date for filing an appeal was extended till 30 July 2011”.
“The appellant (NGO) failed to avail the opportunity granted by the Supreme Court and did not file the appeal within extended period too.
“The appeal was filed only in the month of September 2011. Thus, the same is grossly barred by time,” the bench said.