Goa: State has no power to raze illegal CRZ structures, says NGT

The order on the validity of delegation of power to issue demolition orders under section 5 of the Environmental Protection Act came in response to a petition filed by activist Kashinath Shetye.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Wednesday, September 07, 2022, 02:49 PM IST
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In a major setback to the Goa government, the Special Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed that neither the State nor the District Level Monitoring Committee (DLMC) can order the demolition of a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violating structure.

The order on the validity of delegation of power to issue demolition orders under section 5 of the Environmental Protection Act came in response to a petition filed by activist Kashinath Shetye.

The petitioner, in his argument before the five-member Bench headed by Adarsh Kumar Goel, submitted that the powers delegated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the National Coastal Zone Management Authority to the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority cannot be further delegated to any agency. Ironically, the State government was not represented by any counsel till the verdict was delivered on Tuesday.

In its findings, the NGT observed that a government order empowering DLMC to assist the State and the GCZMA as well as to pass orders under section 5 of the Act, is unsustainable. “Under section 23 of the EP Act, delegation is permissible only by the Central Government… It is thus clear that power under section 5 to give directions can be issued only by the Central Government or delegated only by the Central Government and not by the State of Goa,” reads the order adding,

“The State Government has been delegated power to issue orders under Section 5 which power cannot be further delegated, in view of well-known principle “delegatus non potest delegare”… Accordingly, we allow this application and direct that impugned order to the extent it enables the DLMC to pass an order under Section 5 will be void and inoperative but all other powers within the scope in Para (6) (of the CRZ notification 2011) can be exercised by the DLC.”

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