SC’s green bench transfers cases to different authorities

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court’s green bench on Saturday transferred a bunch of cases, pending before it for over the years, to three different authorities for decision.

A bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel dispose off all the cases arising out of a petition by T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad admitted in 1995.

Taking into consideration the recommendations of senior advocate Harish Salve, who was amicus curae in the case to assist the court, it clubbed the pending matters into three categories.

The first category includes the matters relating to national parks/wildlife sanctuaries, second category had matters relating to wood-based industries and the third category matters related to exemption from the payment of the NPV (Net Present Value).

The green bench referred all matters for grant of permission to implement projects in areas falling in the national parks, sanctuaries and rationalisation of their boundaries to the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wild Life (NBWL) for disposal. The NBWL was directed to furnish a copy of its orders within 30 days to the Central Empowered Committee.

The court authorised the state level committees (SLC) of the wood-based industries for grant of licences and permission to such industries. It directed the states not having a SLC to constitute it immediately under the chairmanship of the principal chief conservators of forest as a representative of the environment and forests ministry and an officer of the state forest department or industries department.

The court also directed its registry to transfer all applications filed by different applicants for exemption from payment of Net Present Value (NPV) to the environment and forest ministry within 45 days to let it consider them in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible.

It also transferred four matters to the principal bench of National Green Tribunal here. These relate to CEC report on Western Ghats, illegal felling of tree and road construction in wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka, the forest land involved in the mining leases transfer to JP Cement, and construction of a hotel at Mcleodganj (Himachal Pradesh) on forest land in violation of the Forest Conservation Act. All these cases will be heard by the chairman of the NGT’s principal bench.

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