New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday wondered why the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is taking up letter petitions filed by lawmakers.
A vacation bench of Justices B R Gavai and Hima Kohli said it thought the NGT jurisdiction was available to persons who can't approach courts.
"What is this, the National Green Tribunal is also entertaining letters from Members of Parliament. We thought that this jurisdiction was available for have-nots and persons who can't approach courts. Ordinary citizens and not legislators," the bench observed.
The observation came while hearing the Andhra Pradesh government's appeal against an NGT order halting construction work at Rushikonda Hills in Visakhapatnam.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the state, said it is an important public interest project for tourism. More than 300 people have been employed and Rs 180 crore invested, he said.
At this juncture, the bench asked if he has a copy of the judgement which says NGT is a tribunal subordinate to the high court under Article 227 of the Constitution.
Singhvi sought time to find this out and the matter was posted for hearing on Wednesday.
The NGT had passed the order on a petition filed by M P K. Raghu Ramakrishna Raju, alleging violation of CRZ norms by the project.
The National Green Tribunal was established under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection.