The question is whether NGT order is retrospective

Will the May 4 order of National Green Tribunal (NGT), that increased the buffer zone around lakes from 30 metres to 75 metres, have retrospective effect?

No, says Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).

But if it does, it will be a matter of concern for people whose properties fall in the zone.

Chowdegowda, member, Planning, BDA, says, “Our reading of the judgment is that it will come into effect only prospectively, and not retrospectively. The Revised Master Plan 2015, which came into effect from 2007, has a buffer zone of 30 metres. On the basis of this, BDA and BBMP had approved building plans, which cannot turn illegal suddenly. If it happens, it will face a legal challenge.”

However, the language used in the order is being termed ‘ambiguous’ leading to multiple interpretations and a lot of confusion. Media reports about properties in the revised ‘buffer zone’ being at risk of demolition have created panic among residents around lakes.

R. Satyanarayana, a resident of Vidyaranyapura near Doddabommasandra lake, said that clarity over their properties is the need of the hour. Such concerns have prompted BDA to approach NGT seeking a clarification whether the order will come into effect retrospectively.

The lead petitioner in the NGT case, Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF), has also interpreted the order as coming into effect prospectively. “This is a landmark judgment, which has defined the buffer zones for not just lakes but also rajakaluves. But it will be unfair to make it retrospective. The judgement also doesn't say that,” said Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO of NBF.

Mr. Chowdegowda said that the new buffer zone specifications will be incorporated into the Revised Master Plan 2031, which is in the works.

Para 3 of General Directions of NGT order

The distances in respect of buffer zone specified in this judgment shall be made applicable to all projects, and the authorities concerned are directed to incorporate such conditions in the projects to whom Environmental Clearance and other permissions are now granted not only around Bellandur lake, rajakaluves, Agara lake, but also all other lakes/wetlands in Bengaluru.

The operative part of the order directs demolition of structures violating the new buffer zone, but is specific to Respondents 9 and 10 in the case pertaining to Bellandur wetlands and not for demolition in other areas.

The language used in the order is being termed ‘ambiguous’ leading to multiple interpretations

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 8:07:06 PM |

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