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SC Dismisses Plea To Establish NGT Benches In Every State

Earlier, A bench of justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy emphasised that the principle of access to justice coupled with the idea of protecting the environment should guide the Centre in considering more zonal benches.

NGT Benches In Every State

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the plea to have NGT beaches in every state.

The bench of justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said, “With the low case load, if the NGT benches are set up in all 28 States and 8 Union territories as is suggested by the petitioners, the judges and other members in these forums might be left twiddling their thumbs. Accordingly, no basis is seen to allow one NGT bench in every State.”

The Court order came on a petition filed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court Advocates Bar Association and the District Bar Association, having their registered offices at Jabalpur, which demanded for a bench in each state having a High Court. It also challenged the validity of the NGT Act for bypassing appeals to high courts as Section 14 and 22 of the Act provided for a direct appeal to the Supreme Court.

At present, the NGT has four regional benches with its principal seat in Delhi, which together have a cumulative pendency of 2,237 cases. The Principal Bench at Delhi has 621 cases, South Zone Bench at Chennai — 517, Central Zone Bench at Bhopal — 107, Western Zone Bench at Pune — 694, and Eastern Zone Bench at Kolkata — 298.

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