The Supreme Court of India disposing off a Civil appeal filed by Bina Basnet challenging NGT order on Multilevel Car Parking cum Shopping Hub at old West Point, Gangtok and remands the issue back to the NGT for fresh hearing.
The Supreme court on Monday was hearing a case of Bina Basnet vs The state of Sikkim which challenged the order dated 10.05.2022 passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata
The NGT’s original order from May 10, 2022, dismissed Bina Basnet’s petition, stating that the construction had not yet reached 5 ½ storeys, deeming the application “absolutely premature” and finding no environmental degradation or violation of environmental laws at that stage.
The NGT’s initial order, dated May 10, 2022, dismissed Bina Basnet’s petition, asserting that the construction had not yet reached 5 ½ storeys. This dismissal was based on the belief that the application was “absolutely premature,” and it found no evidence of environmental degradation or violations of environmental laws at that stage. The NGT’s order of May 10, 2023, read,
“The construction has not yet reached 5 ½ storeys. We are, therefore, of the view that this Original Application is absolutely premature and that the Applicant has no cause of action to maintain this Original Application on the assumption that there would be a violation of environmental laws or Government of Sikkim notifications in the future. We are not satisfied that at the foundational stage of the proposed construction of the Multi-level Car Parking-cum-Commercial Hub, it can be said that there is environmental degradation or a violation of environmental laws.”
Following this, Bina Basnet filed appeal in the Supreme Court on September 22, 2023.
During the Supreme Court’s hearing of Bina Basnet’s appeal on September 25, 2023, it stated, “This appeal challenges the order dated 10.05.2022 passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata.”
The Supreme Court disagreed with the NGT’s finding in Paragraph 5 of the impugned order, which claimed that the proceedings initiated before the NGT were premature since the construction had not yet reached 5½ storeys.
“Paragraph 5 of the impugned order states that the proceedings initiated before the NGT were premature, as the construction, subject matter of the proceedings, had not yet reached 5½ storeys. We do not agree with the said finding and reason to dismiss the petition, as the construction post the permissions had admittedly commenced. It is informed at the bar that the construction is now complete.”
The Supreme Court argued that construction had indeed commenced after receiving the necessary permissions. The Court clarified that it wasn’t expressing an opinion on the merits of the case but set aside the impugned order and reinstated O.A. no. 38/2022/EZ, to be re-evaluated without any influence from the previous order.
In its concluding remarks, the Supreme Court ordered all parties involved to appear before the NGT on October 18, 2023.
The Apex Court emphasized that the order of remand allows for a fresh examination of the case with all pleas and contentions of the parties left open. The appeal was allowed without any costs imposed. The Court stated, “As an order of remand, hearing, and decision is being passed, all pleas and contentions of the parties are left open. The appeal is allowed and disposed of in the above terms. No costs.
Parties will appear before the NGT on 18.10.2023, when a date of hearing will be fixed. Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of.”