Report No. 186
Power to frame schemes and monitor them
The Environment Court, in our view, must have power to frame schemes and monitor them and also have power to modify the schemes from time to time. If one looks at the problems raised in several cases and the directions issued by the Supreme Court, it will be observed that such a power is necessary to be vested in these Courts. Take the case of air, water pollution, which are caused by an industry or a group of similar industries located in an area.
Directions may have to be issued for their shifting, for closure of the industry temporarily and for directing payment of wages to the employees to cover two or three years of their wages; for directing local authorities to provide necessary amenities at the new location, like water and electricity, or to direct the industries to install effluent plants etc. A variety of issues arise simultaneously, involving several departments of the Central/State Government or local authorities.
The Environment Court must be able to provide an "environmental solution" to grave problems like the one mentioned above and unless it has power to frame comprehensive schemes which will involve issuing directions to various departments, the solution cannot be implemented. Such a comprehensive jurisdiction is now being exercised both by the Supreme Court and High Courts. In our view, the proposed Courts must have similar powers. They will also have to monitor the schemes till they are successfully implemented on ground and, if necessary, modify the schemes from time to time.