Justice Swatanter Kumar retires as NGT Chair, says no grievance against anyone

New Delhi, Dec 19 : National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar (retd), whose eventful tenure saw some landmark orders to protect the environment, on Tuesday retired from the post, saying he had no grudges against anyone.

A "satisfied" Justice Kumar, who was the green court's second chairperson after resigning as a Supreme Court judge on being appointed to the post on December 20, 2012, stressed that it's the people who have to take initiatives.

"I have no grievance against anybody, if every one was not cooperating, it (NGT) will not be where it is today," he said.

Having delivered some landmark orders including the ban on 10-year-old diesel and 15-year-old petrol vehicles, holding the Art of Living responsible for destroying the ecology of Yamuna flood plains in Delhi, several directions for rejuvenating the Ganga and Yamuna and even ordering a CBI probe against government officials, he said he felt that implementation of orders is an issue "not just limited to our country".

"Implementation is a problem throughout the world, it is not very unique to our country, I would not blame any particular section, its a concerted effort..unless the public at large should participate and accept that, yes, there should be implementation, then there will not be an issue.

"The government also doesn't have enough machinery, like to check if people in Delhi are not throwing waste..it's the people in the end who need awareness," he said.

Pointing out that over the years, the Tribunal has evolved as a globally acclaimed institution, Justice Kumar said that what satisfies him the most is that the NGT has succeeded in expanding the environment consciousness.

"Today the environment consciousness and awareness created by the Tribunal is the biggest contribution.

"We have been able to give inexpensive and expeditious justice..cases are disposed of within the same year or within two years... The dispensation of environment justice at the tribunal has been very consistent," he said.

On the question of development against environment, he said he believed that development is necessary but not at the cost of the law.

"Development is necessary, there is no doubt, nobody is opposing the development, but now with total violation to the law enforcement, all we say is please adhere to it, don't bypass it.

"I would say the Tribunal has gained, that credit goes to all my colleagues.

No individual can build up an institution, they are build on the strength of a community."

Justice Kumar however, also observed that in the past five years, people have become responsible.

"You see when people today find someone burning waste next to their house, they come and file the case here.

This is awareness," he said.



Source: IANS