T N GODAVARMAN THIRUMULIPAD Vs. UNION OF INDIA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
T N Godavarman Thirumulipad
UNION OF INDIA
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(1.)After hearing the learned Amicus Curiae, counsel for the parties and taking into consideration the suggestions placed before us by the learned Attorney General, we pass the following order :-
(1) It is submitted that till the Central Government constitutes a statutory agency as contemplated by Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 , it is necessary and expedient that an authority be constituted at the national level to be called Central Empowered Committee [hereinafter the Empowered Committee] for monitoring of implementation of Hon'ble Court's orders and to place the non-compliance cases before it, including in respect of encroachment removals, implementations of working plans, compensatory afforestation, plantations and other conservation issues.
(2) The Empowered Committee shall comprise of a Chairman to be nominated by Ministry of Environment and Forest [MoEF] in consultation with the Amicus Curiae. It will have one nominee of the MoEF, and two NGOs (also to be nominated in consultation with the Amicus Curiae). Shri M.K. Jiwrajka will be its Member-Secretary. The persons so appointed (other than the nominee of the Ministry) shall not be removed without leave of the Court.
(3) Pending interlocutory applications in these two writ petitions as well as the reports and affidavits filed by the States in response to the orders made by the Court shall be examined by the Committee, and their recommendations will be placed before Hon'ble Court for orders.
(4) Any individual having any grievance against any steps taken by the Government or any other authority in purported compliance with the orders passed by this Hon'ble Court will be at liberty to move the Committee for seeking suitable relief. The Committee may dispose of such applications in conformity with the orders passed by Hon'ble Court. Any application which cannot be appropriately disposed of by the Committee may be referred by it to this Hon'ble Court.
(5) The Committee shall have the power to :
(a) Call for any documents from any person or the Government of the Union or the State or any other official;
(b) Summon any person and receive evidence from such person on oath either on affidavit or otherwise.
(c) Seek assistance/presence of any person(s)/official(s) required by it in relation to its work.
(6) The Committee may decide its own procedure for dealing with applications and other issues. Union of India shall provide suitable and adequate office accommodation for the Committee. The expenditure incurred on the working of the Committee including salary/remuneration (to the extent not payable by the Government) to the members and supporting staff, may be met out of income accruing to the Special Investigating Team [SIT]. Necessary procedure for this may be formulated by the Committee in consultation with the SIT.
(7) The Committee is empowered to co-opt one or more persons as its members or as special invitees for dealing with specific issues. While dealing with issues pertaining to a particular State, wherever feasible, the Chief Secretary and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of the State shall be co-opted as special invitees.
(8) The Committee shall submit quarterly reports to the Hon'ble Court. It will be at liberty to seek clarifications/modifications needed by it from Hon'ble Court.
I.A. No. 295 is disposed of in the aforesaid terms.
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