The High Court of Bombay at Goa has asked petitioners NGO Goa Foundation and five others to explain their prayers with regard to coal pollution and has asked them to return to court in the second week of January.
Justice R M Borde and Justice Prithviraj K Chavan were hearing a petition filed by NGO Goa Foundation and five others, seeking an order for permanent closure of operations of coal and coke handling at the port.
The petitioner’s counsel, advocate Norma Alvares, said the issue is very broad and involves rights under Article 21 — Right to Life and Right to clean environment.
“Our case is that there was a promise made to ensure that coal handling will be mechanised and with proper closed sheds, and ensure that it is transported without any harm to environment or public. We have come to court to seek justice as it has not been done,” she told the court.
Earlier, the court served notice to all parties concerned, including Mumbai Port Trust, importers South West Port Limited, Adani Mormugao Port Terminal Private Limited, and Vedanta, asking them to respond.
This is the second time coal pollution is being brought before the High Court. It had heard a similar issue of pollution from Mormugao Port for a decade ending 2012, with citizens of Vasco filing the petition in public interest, listing “violations” by all respondents, including the Ministry of Environment, Goa State Pollution Control Board, Town and Country Planning Department, and Mormugao Municipal Council.
“At that time, the Court had passed a directive saying if the directions are not followed, the parties concerned can return. We are now back to the High Court to seek justice,” she told the court.
The advocates for the corporates and MPT Said the petition cannot be admitted as it doesnt fit the court’s time and also that there are “alternate remedies available”.
The court has now asked the petitioners to outline their prayer and specify what exactly they want cancelled and what are the broad appeals.