SC approves Kerala slotting construction in orange category

Declines to interfere in appeal filed by CREDAI against NGT

The Supreme Court has declined to interfere in an appeal filed by the Kerala chapter of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) against the National Green Tribunal’s rejection of its contention that the inclusion of constructions between 2,000 sq.m and 20,000 sq.m in the ‘orange category’ by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board was arbitrary.

A Bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, allowed the CREDAI’s Kerala chapter, represented by senior advocate V. Giri, to withdraw the appeal on March 6, 2020. The State Pollution Control Board was represented by advocates Jogy Scaria and Beena Victor.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) slotted industrial activities into the red, orange, green and white categories, based on the pollution index, in March 2016. The very next year, the State Pollution Control Board, in pursuance of the CPCB’s direction and the report of an expert committee, brought flats, apartments and commercial buildings — spanning over 2,000 sq.m, but less than 20,000 sq.m — under the orange category.

The CREDAI successfully challenged the State Pollution Control Board’s circular before the Appellate Authority on the ground that residential constructions did not fall in the category of industry. The State Pollution Control Board had argued that it was authorised to impose stringent conditions to prevent environmental degradation and pollution. It had said it merely exercised its powers under the directions of the CPCB and the Environment (Protection) Rules. But the circular did not find favour with the Appellate Authority.

The State Pollution Control Board then appealed before the NGT, which set aside the Appellate Authority’s decision and held that these stringent conditions were required on account of higher groundwater level and contamination of waterbodies and the groundwater.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 5:28:25 PM |

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