New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): The National Green Tribunal has pulled up the Haryana government for granting an extension of time to stone crushers despite not meeting the criteria of maintaining specified distance from educational institutions.
A bench of the NGT, headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel, observed that state has no jurisdiction to grant time once a violation of environmental norms has taken place.
"We find that the State of Haryana has no jurisdiction to grant time once there is a violation of environmental norms. The state is bound by the Public Trust Doctrine to enforce environmental norms as such safeguards are part of the fundamental right of citizens to life," the bench said in its order on Tuesday.
The Public Trust Doctrine is a legal theory that enjoins upon the government to protect the resources for the general public rather than to permit use for private ownership or commercial purposes.
The NGT asked the concerned authorities to take further action and file a compliance report before the next date and listed the matter for further hearing on January 14, 2021.
"Once it is so, the state has no discretion to waive compliance only on the plea of avoiding litigation. The said waiver being against the principle of sustainable development, to enforced by this Tribunal under section 20 of the NGT Act, has to be declared non-est," the order said.
The tribunal's directions came after it took note of a report filed by the State Pollution Control Board, wherein, it was admitted that some stone crushers were not meeting the norms regarding maintaining distance from education institutions laid down on May 11, 2016.
The board's report also mentioned that the Haryana government has passed an order on May 19, 2020, granting an extension of time to stone crushers not meeting the siting criteria.
The bench was hearing a petition, filed by Sardar Patel Jan Chetna Education Society, seeking to enforce the norms for the location of stone crushers at the specified distance from educational institutions in Haryana. The petitioner has also raised grievances against allowing stone crushers despite violating the environmental norms. (ANI)