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Mirzapur Thermal Power Case: NGT Refused to Modify the Original Judgement
The National Green Tribunal has dismissed the review application filed by MOEFCC, State of U.P. and Welspun Energy which sought modification of the judgment dated 21st December 2016 where the Environmental Clearance of the 1320 MW coal based thermal power plant proposed in district Mirzapur was quashed terming the entire EC process 'tainted'. The judgment was passed by Justice U.D. Salvi and Expert Member Ranjan Chatterjee.
ASG Tushar Mehta appearing for MOEFCC and the State argued that the project is of national importance and therefore instead of quashing the EC, it should be suspended until shortcomings are removed. Senior Advocate Pinaki Mishra. appearing for project proponent Welspun Energy argued that it will take another 7-10 years once the project is scrapped and it would be an immense economic loss to the region.
Advocate Parul Gupta, appearing for the original appellants from Vindhya Bachao argued that not only the entire process of obtaining EC was in violation of law, but there has been severe concealment of facts when they applied for the EC which are not shortcomings but gross violation of law which cannot be rectified without the entire EC process is initiated as stated in the original judgment.
The Review application was first heard by Justice Jawad Rahim and Expert Member Ranjan Chatterjee where an order was passed on 31st March, 2017 where the bench previously refused to give any additional direction regarding renewal of PPA for the project. However, the final argument of the matter was heard by a 4 member bench comprising of Justice Swatanter Kumar, Justice U.D. Salvi, Expert Members Ranjan Chatterjee and B.S. Sajwan yesterday. The important excerpts from the judgment are reproduced below:
After hearing the parties and perusing the records before us, we are of the considered view that the grounds raised in the present applications for review have no merit and fall within the Appellate Jurisdiction in contradistinction to Review Jurisdiction.
However, for proper implementation of the judgement, a clarification needs to be issued which we do hereby issue, that the project proponent is at liberty to approach the MoEF&CC or any other competent authority for processing of the applications for grant of EC upon making up for/rectifying the defects and deficiencies pointed out in the judgment. However, the authorities concerned are at liberty to process the same in accordance with law while strictly adhering to the content of the judgment
The judgment dated 1st May 2017 can be accessed by clicking here