Shimla, May 13
The National Green Tribunal restrained the Himachal Pradesh Government from going ahead with the Shimla Development Plan 2041. This process was challenged by one Yogendra Mohan Sen, who had alleged that plan was illegal in view of the Tribunal judgment dated 16.11.2017. A principal bench of NGT comprising of Chairperson
Adarsh Kumar Goel, Judicial member Sudhir Agarwal, Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert member Prof. A. Senthil Vel and Dr. Afroz Ahmad passed the order on May 12 condemning the State of Himachal Pradesh for allegedly trying to
assume jurisdiction of Appellate Authority over the NGT, in breach of the rule of law. It is not expected from a lawful Government which has to work as per law and the Constitution and not at its fancies as appears to be the case.” Chief Secretary should be personally held liable for prosecution, for such patent illegal acts of the State authorities. ” the order said.
“We find the observations and proposals in the Plan of the State of HP patently illegal in view of submissions noted above,” NGT said. The tribunal issued notice to the respondents by email to show cause as to why the prayers in the application be not granted, asking the state to file a response filed within one month. Tribunal also said that the applicant might serve a set of papers on the Chief
Secretary, Himachal Pradesh, to file an affidavit of service within one week. Tribunal also said that, meanwhile, it restrains the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Department from taking any further steps in pursuance of the Draft Development Plan, 2041. It also held the Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh personally accountable for any violation of orders of this Tribunal.
The matter is now listed for further consideration on July 22, 2022.
How did the matter come to light
Challenging the Draft Development Plan- 2041 prepared by the Town and Country Planning Department, Himachal Pradesh applicant Yogendra Mohan (who is also facing SLP over this matter in the Supreme court) once again moved before NGT, against the draft of new plan on the ground that such plan is contrary to the sustainable development principle and destructive of the environment and public safety. The applicant said that Tribunal, vide judgment dated 16.11.2017, has
already issued regulatory measures required to be adopted in terms of the number of floors, construction restrictions in core/green areas etc.
The said directions are still holding the field. The applicant noted that the draft plan is illegal and ill-conceived effort to violate the binding orders of this Tribunal under Section 15 of the NGT. Under Section 33 of the said Act, the NGT Act has overriding effect over any other law in force.
Violating such directions is a criminally punishable offence under Section 26 of the NGT Act. Heads of concerned departments of the State are liable to be prosecuted for such offence under Section 28 of the said Act. NGT maintain that its attention has been particularly drawn to the draft plan
permitting construction of more floors, new structures in the core area, constructions in the green zone, allowing development in the sinking and sliding area in violation of the order of this tribunal. If the State proceeds in such a manner, it will damage the rule of law, it may result in disastrous consequences for the environment and public safety, it added.