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Report No. 186

Execution of orders and contempt procedure

It was prescribed in section 25 of the National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995, that whoever fails to comply with an order of the proposed 150Tribunal should be liable for imprisonment upto a term of 3 years or with fine which may extend upto Rs.10 lakhs or with both. (We are aware that section 19 of the National Appellate Authority Act, 1997 prescribed imprisonment upto seven years and fine upto rupees one lakh or both.) Obviously, the punishment could be awarded only by the normal criminal courts competent to award such punishment. This could take a pretty long time.

So far as execution of its orders are concerned, proposed Courts must have all powers which a Civil Court has for execution and should also be able to exercise contempt jurisdiction. There is no difficulty in conferring such a power on these Courts. The Commission is of the view that having regard to the fact that big industries which pollute the environment (or our streams, lakes and rivers or air) come before the Court, there is need to invest the Court with contempt powers so that the Court can, by way of summary proceedings, see that its orders are effectively implemented instead of taking out lengthy proceedings by way of execution or proceedings under the criminal law. Parliament can invest these proposed Courts with such a power by law made under Entry 14, List III of the VII Schedule.

Proposal to Constitute Environment Courts Back

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