HC sets aside KSPCB’s environmental compensation charges on industries

Court says there was no direction to KSPCB from NGT to collect such charge

Observing that there was no specific direction from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to demand Environmental Compensation Charges (ECC) from industrial units, the High Court of Karnataka on Monday set aside demand notices issued to several industrial units at Peenya industrial area here.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi, after going through the NGT orders, and the demand notices issued by the KSPCB, said there was no direction to the KSPCB or other State pollution control board to demand the ECC.

Also, the Bench said that the KSPCB, except demanding the ECC quoting the NGT order, had not pointed out in its notices any violation of the provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Air Pollution Act), 1981, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 or the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

The Bench clarified that it was setting aside the demand notices only on the ground of the KSPCB’s failure to justify the demand notices by citing any statutory provision to demand the ECC.

However, the Bench made it clear that it is the obligation of the KPSCB to enforce all the statutory provisions to protect environment, and the industries also will have obligation to strictly adhere to the laws.

Receiving end

Earlier, replying to the queries posed by the Bench, KSPCB counsel said the board was not a party to the proceedings before the NGT cases in which issue of levy of the ECC was discussed, and there was no power to the KPSCB to levy such charges under any statute.

The counsel also pointed out to the Bench that though the present chairperson of the KSPCB, after securing legal opinion, has accepted that the KSPCB has no statutory power to demand the ECC, the chairman is at the receiving end both from the State government and the executive for arguing that demand is not as per law.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 5:07:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-sets-aside-kspcbs-environmental-compensation-charges-on-industries/article31094546.ece

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