The Hush Post: It doesn’t appear to be news anymore. Any order given by the National Green Tribunal is challenged in the high court and some form of relief or stay is obtained or jurisdiction issue is raised. Recently, there have many NGT orders that have been challenged in the respective high courts or the Supreme Court, whether it be building bye-laws in Shimla town, new passage to Vaishno Devi shrine, ringing of bells at Amaranth shrine, among a few.
Another ruling of the NGT under scrutiny is its order shutting down leather units in Punjab, which has now been stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The NGT had on December 18, 2017 ordered the closure of 35 units, including 19 tanneries in Jalandhar district.
The Vacation Bench of Justice Kuldip Singh and Justice Rajbir Sehrawat has stayed further proceedings before the NGT’s Principal Bench in New Delhi. The order will remain in operation at least till March 9, when the matter would be taken up by a High Court Division Bench.
The directions came on a petition filed by the Punjab Leather Federation and other petitioners against the NGT and other respondents against the interim order passed.
The Bench was told that the NGT’s Principal Bench directed the closure of 19 “non-compliant” industries and 16 others already lying closed. Challenging the order, the counsel for the petitioners pointed out that an appeal, converted into a public interest litigation (PIL), was pending before the High Court. As such, the latter was seized of the matter pertaining to effluent control and upgrade of common effluent treatment plants (CETPs). The Bench was also told that the tribunal could not override the High Court’s jurisdiction, once the matter was placed before it.