Pune: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, on Saturday, said that the court must come out with a mechanism to immediately dispose of cases pertaining to developmental projects so that projects are not stalled and cost escalation can be avoided.
He was speaking at the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) 'Regional Conference on Environment' to discuss various burning issues concerning the protection and conservation of the environment.
Fadnavis said, “The judiciary has a higher role to play. We, the courts, should intervene if the executive fails in its duties. If the executive is not doing something, which it is mandated to do, for vote bank politics, the court must order the executive to fulfill its constitutional duty. Please guide us when we approach courts. There are times when we are at fault. When a project is stalled, we end up paying 50 per cent more on its cost. There should be an immediate disposal of cases so that cost is not escalated as it is public money.”
NGT Chairperson (retired) Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar, Supreme Court Justice MB Lokur, Bombay High Court Chief Justice Manjula Chellur were present, besides bureaucrats, academicians, lawyers and students. The two-day event is being held at the Dhanvantari auditorium of the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in Wanavdi.
Activism as livelihood
The Chief Minister said, “As the Chief Justice has pointed out, activism is necessary but there is a need to differentiate activists from those who have made activism their livelihood. I know it is difficult for courts to do so but there is need of a mechanism to find out people whose source of income is litigation. The courts have always found ways to correct the system and I hope they will find a solution to free the system of such litigants. Local residents around wildlife sanctuaries are earning their livelihood after they were made aware of the need to preserve nature, flora and fauna. Now if a tiger goes missing, everybody is worried about it.”
Friction between govt and judiciary
“Sometimes I feel there is a section in the judiciary, which thinks that executive is a bunch of incompetent people who are afraid of the democratic process. On the other side, there is a large portion of the executive, who think that courts should not interfere in their domain however inefficient they may be. I think there is a need to find a midway,” the Chief Minister added.
Ajay Narayan Jha, Secretary (Environment, Forests and Climate Change), Government of India, said, “NGT has occupied significant space in the field of environmental jurisprudence, which is now globally recognised. Till August 2017, the NGT has disposed of 19,638 cases out of a total of 22,948. It is imperative that development and environment go hand in hand in a developing country like India.”
Bombay High Court Chief Justice Chellur said, “We have created artificial immunity in children by giving them about 150 vaccines till they reach the age of 11 years. This should not happen to future generations. We should not meddle with nature. There is need of sustainable development. Everyone has to think about the environment. We can start it by segregating waste at our homes.”
Conference for Mumbai in December
On demand from CM Devendra Fadanavis to organise a separate conference about Mumbai, NGT Chief Swatanter Kumar said that the conference will be organised in December this year.