NGT order on PRRLI stayed

NGT order on PRRLI stayed
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Highlights

The High Court at Hyderabad on Wednesday stayed the order of National Green Tribunal, Chennai bench, on May 30, constituting a three-member expert committee to look into the works of Palamuru-Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS) project works.

Hyderabad: The High Court at Hyderabad on Wednesday stayed the order of National Green Tribunal, Chennai bench, on May 30, constituting a three-member expert committee to look into the works of Palamuru-Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS) project works.

The division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice T Rajani stayed the NGT order on the ground that it was passed by only the judicial member of the Tribunal, while the Act mandates that an expert member must be part of the bench to pass such an order.

The bench made it clear that it was not going into merits of the issue, but only passing orders on technical grounds.

The Chief Secretary moved a petition before the High Court challenging the orders of the NGT, Chennai bench, on technical grounds.

NGT had on May 30 passed an order constituting the expert committee to visit the places where the construction work of PRLIS project is being executed and submit a report by July 19 as to whether the works really meant for meeting only the drinking water needs of people or whether they were related to irrigation project as argued by the petitioner before the Tribunal, B Harshvardhan Reddy.

Telangana Additional Advocate General J. Ramchander Rao argued before the bench that the order lacked legitimacy because the Act stipulated that there should be an expert member on the bench to pass such directions. He informed the court that the State of Telangana assured the Tribunal and this court also that no works would be taken up without the necessary clearances.

The counsel for the petitioner B Rachna Reddy, in her submissions, informed the bench that the government had nothing to fear from the expert committee constituted by the NGT. And in case they had problem with it, they must approach the NGT Delhi bench for a review, but instead they are knocking on the doors of High Court.

The bench made it clear that it was not going into the merits of the case, but passing orders only on technical grounds. It made it clear that the petitioner before NGT can move a fresh application and get the orders as per the Act and that this order does not preclude the Tribunal from deciding that application.

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