NGT slaps Rs. 2 lakh penalty on Delhi govt

The National Green Tribunal on Thursday rapped the Delhi government over “inordinate delay” in demarcation of forest land in the southern Ridge and slapped a fine of Rs. 2 lakh on it.

A Bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim said the city government was frustrating the orders of the green panel on one pretext or the other, and showing “disdainful conduct” in the matter.

“The proceedings in these cases reflect the manner in which administration of NCT of Delhi is being governed. Orders passed by us on previous dates speak out loud about the modus operandi of all concerned to frustrate the directions of this Tribunal...,” it said. In these circumstances, the Bench said, it was compelled to impose a cost of Rs. 2 lakh in the first instance.

It directed that the positive action plan be submitted by July 26. Failing which, it added, it would be compelled to pass an order with directions that further cost of Rs. 1 lakh be saddled on the government of the NCT of Delhi on each day of non-compliance.

The Tribunal directed the government to deposit the amount with the Legal Aid Committee of the NGT Bar Association and said it would be utilised only for restoration of environment. The order came after the counsel for the AAP government told the Bench that although bids for demarcation were opened, the Finance Department had disapproved them on the ground that the amount was high.

The Tribunal was hearing a bunch of pleas field by South Delhi resident Sonya Ghosh and others against encroachments on forest land in the southern Ridge and seeking their removal.

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