The stay on Tuesday was granted on a writ petition from Tamil Nadu government challenging the February 13 orders of NGT.

Madras HC staysRs 100 crore fine imposed by NGT on TNgovt over polluting rivers
news Law Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 09:42

The Madras High Court on Tuesday stayed the imposition of Rs 100 crore fine by National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the Tamil Nadu government. The fine of Rs 100 crore was slapped on the state government in an interim order by the Tribunal on February 13 for failing to control pollution and restoring Chennai’s waterways within 36 months from April 2015. 

The stay on Tuesday was granted by a division bench of Justices R Subbiah and Krishnan Ramasamy, while passing interim orders on a writ petition from Tamil Nadu government challenging the February 13 orders of NGT. 

In the strongly worded order, the NGT had not only criticised the state government for failing to take action against entities responsible for polluting the waterways viz. the Adyar, the Cooum and the Buckingham Canal, but also accused them of complacency and colluding with the polluters.

According to a report in Times of India, the state moved the present appeal before the High Court on the ground that the tribunal's order “suffered non-application of mind, was based on mistake of fact and contrary to the principles of natural justice, arbitrary and unreasonable.” 

In addition to the stay on penalty, the Bench also issued notices to NGT and to Jawahar Shanmugam, a social activist and one of the petitioners. 

In January 2019, a status report submitted said that the Chennai River Restoration Trust (CRRT) had taken strenuous efforts for revamping Cooum and Adyar rivers in Phase I and Phase II. 

Recently, on February 11, the state government filed an affidavit “stating the Eco Restoration Plan had been prepared for restoration of the Cooum River which is to be implemented in three phases in eight years. Major activities will be completed in three years.”  This plan has been named the “Integrated Cooum River Eco-Restoration Project” and for this, Rs 604.77 crore have been sanctioned for 60 sub-projects.

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