Downtown

Not enough space at Green Tribunal office

At present, the southern bench deals with cases transferred from the High Courts in Madras, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. Photo: M. Vedhan

At present, the southern bench deals with cases transferred from the High Courts in Madras, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. Photo: M. Vedhan   | Photo Credit: M_VEDHAN

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Visitors have an uncomfortable time as the premises lacks a common visitors’ hall and sufficient rest rooms

The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal in Arumbakkam on Poonamallee High (PH) Road lacks basic facilities at its building.

Formed four years ago with its headquarters at New Delhi, the NGT is aimed at quick disposal of cases relating to environmental disputes and reduction in pendency level at the High Courts. Subsequently, benches were constituted in Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai to help petitioners to dispose of their cases within the region rather than travelling all the way to Delhi. The southern bench of the tribunal comprises a judicial member, Justice M. Chockalingam, a retired judge from Madras High Court, and an expert member, R. Nagendran, a professor of Anna University.

At present, the southern bench deals with cases transferred from the High Courts in Madras, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. “The tribunal in the city has brought relief to thousands of petitioners. It also helps in quick disposal of cases,” said K. Suresh Kumar, an advocate.

However, the tribunal is working at a 4,400-sq.ft. space in a three-storey building located on the bank of the Cooum River in Arumbakkam. The building was rented out by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), which is a party in many proceedings before the Tribunal.

With around 30 seats, the court hall is too cramped to accommodate enough visitors. The tribunal lacks adequate chambers for advocates, a common visitors’ hall, a library with case studies and important judgements and rest rooms. As per the National Green Tribunal Act, it is mandatory for the Tribunal to dispose of applications or appeals within 6 months of the filing of the same. With the staff shortage, it is difficult to dispose of cases on time. “The bench also lacks adequate staff to perform routine paper work. With the space crunch, there is also difficulty in storing important files and documents,” said a court official.  

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 10:43:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/not-enough-space-at-green-tribunal-office/article6577902.ece

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