The National Green Tribunal principal bench headed by chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said industries cannot operate without prior environmental clearance and the State has no power to exempt the requirement.
The tribunal said this in the application filed seeking quashing of the order of the State of Haryana allowing manufacturers of formaldehyde, requiring prior Environmental Clearance (EC), to operate for six months without EC, subject to making application for EC within 60 days.
According to the tribunal, the applicant submits that requirement of prior EC is mandatory and there is no jurisdiction with the State to exempt the same. Reference has been made to an order of this Tribunal dated 28.11.2019 in O.A. No. 840/2019, Ayush Garg v. Union of India & Ors to the effect that consent to establish to such establishments is liable to be removed.
The tribunal said – “Since prior EC is statutory mandate, the same must be complied. We have no doubt that the stand of the private respondents will be duly considered by the concerned regulatory authorities, including the MoEF&CC on merits and in accordance with law but till compliance of statutory mandate, the units cannot be allowed to function. For past violations, the concerned authorities are free to take appropriate action in accordance with polluter pays principle, following due process.”