April 30 as deadline has been set by the Supreme Court for making functional benches of National Green Tribunal (NGT) at Bhopal, Pune and Kolkata, failure of which will require presence of their senior officials before it.
The date has been extended by the apex court the January 31 deadline after it was informed that authorities in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal have failed to make the benches functional.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya expressed displeasure that the three states have failed to comply with its December 6, 2012 order and asked Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra to be in touch with the chief secretaries and other senior officials concerned so that the NGT benches become functional.
The bench was so anguished that in its order it noted, “At one stage it was felt that it was necessary to summon the officials of the three states.”
It said it was deferring the matter for the time being since the ASG has been requested to be in touch with them. “They (officials) in uncertain terms shall be responsible personally for the functioning of the NGT benches at Bhopal, Pune and Kolkata.”
The bench further said it hopes and trusts that the officials concerned of the three states would make the benches of NGT functional and “avoid a situation in which the apex court would require their presence”.
It noted the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal have not taken adequate measures for functioning of the NGT benches.
The bench passed the order after the counsel appearing for Madhya Pradesh government gave an unequivocal assurance that the state government was taking necessary action for making the tribunal functional by April 30.
It also noted that the West Bengal government has not come on record to state the actual progress made for the functioning of the NGT.
The court on December 6 last year had directed the chief secretaries of Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra to ensure that the NGT benches at Bhopal, Kolkata and Pune be functional without fail by January 31 and all facilities, including accommodation, be provided to them according to their previous status.
Besides the principal bench at Delhi, the Chennai bench of NGT is already functional.