Union Ministry of forests, environment and climate change (MoEFCC) has defended its decision to transfer Goa cases before National Green Tribunal (NGT) from Pune to Delhi while informing the high court of Bombay at Goa that it had proposed the setting up of an NGT circuit bench in Goa.
In an affidavit filed before the high court, the MoEFCC has explained in detail how the proposal was sent to the Goa government. It pointed out that in 2015, the then chief minister had requested setting up of a circuit bench in the state due to difficulties faced by litigants to travel to Pune.
The matter was examined by MoEFCC in detail and in consultation with the NGT chairperson, and NGT had suggested that the cases could either be transferred to Delhi or a circuit bench be set up in Goa to provide relief to people and help them access environmental justice at their doorstep economically.
The chief secretary of Goa was also informed on December 21, 2015, that a Goa circuit bench could be set up subject to availability of accommodation and infrastructure. The chief secretary appreciated it in his reply and Goa sought specific terms regarding logistics along with financial implications, but no further communication was received, the affidavit noted.
The Union ministry has requested that the order passed by the high court on August 21, 2017, be amended or withdrawn in the interest of justice.