The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday struck down a notification by the Centre that mandated relocating the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT’s) jurisdiction for Goa-related cases from Pune to New Delhi. In August, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had issued a notification citing “lack of flight connectivity with Pune” and “absence of an office set-up in the Maharashtra town” as reasons for it to be relocated.
The Western Zone Branch (WZB) Bar Association of the NGT welcomed the High Court’s decision to quash and set aside the Centre’s notification.
In a press statement, NGT WZB Bar Association president Saurabh Kulkarni said the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has issued a notification on August 10 amending the jurisdiction of the benches of NGT, and as per the notification, the jurisdiction of Goa was changed from Western Zone Bench, Pune, to Principal Bench, Delhi.
The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court took suo motu cognizance of the said fact and stayed the notification on August 21, calling for replies from the stakeholders.
On Wednesday, the High Court finally quashed and set aside the Union government’s notification, and retained the jurisdiction of the Western Zone Bench, to handle matters pertaining to Goa.
Kulkarni said 40 per cent of the cases in the NGT’s Western Zone branch pertained to Goa and it was improper to shift the jurisdiction of Goa to the Principal Bench in Delhi. The Bar Association had earlier condemned the Union government’s decision and had passed a resolution to that effect, which was handed over to the Registrar of the High Court at Goa.