Minister, Supreme Court judge spar on court role in enforcing green laws

Javadekar and Kehar were speaking at the valedictory function of a three-day conference titled ‘Rule of Law for Supporting 2030 Development Agenda’ organised by the NGT here.

By: Express News Service | Delhi | Published:March 7, 2016 1:14 am
Chief Justice of India, TS Thakur, Supreme Court, Narendra Modi, Prakash Javadekar, National Green Tribunal, environment protection Chief Justice T S Thakur

JUSTICE J S Kehar of the Supreme Court Sunday shot down the suggestion of Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar that courts, when they find any policy or rule inconsistent with environmental law, should give the government some time to correct itself rather than staying its implementation immediately.

Justice Kehar said it was entirely for the governments and its agencies to frame policies and implement them, but if these were not in accordance with prevailing laws, the courts must stop them.

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Javadekar and Kehar were speaking at the valedictory function of a three-day conference titled ‘Rule of Law for Supporting 2030 Development Agenda’ organised by the NGT here.

Seemingly alluding to the speech of CJI T S Thakur, who, on the opening day of the conference, said that courts were being forced to intervene in environment cases because laws were not being enforced, Javadekar said he would like the judiciary to become the “guiding” force behind implementation of laws, but it also needed to give some time to the agencies for course correction.

“When you find some policy or rules (inconsistent with law)…, give some time to the executive to improve upon (those rules). Because if you stay (implementation), the whole thing stops… the wheels of progress must not be stopped like this,” he said.

But Justice Kehar said: “Implementation is not the concern of the courts. Courts will support the cause of the government. It will even support pollution if it is in consonance with law. But that is a big if.”

“Implementation of laws has to be done by the government. But if it doesn’t do that we (judiciary) would not allow it to go. We must stop it, we shall stop it because that is what the courts are meant to do,” he said.

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