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NGT order unsustainable as joint inspection was not completed and final report not prepared then: Supreme Court

The SC on August 11, 2020 {Wonder Projects Development Pvt. Ltd.  & Anr. vs Union of India & Ors.} held that it is evident that as on the date the impugned order was passed the   final   round   of   inspection   had   not   been completed and as such the NGT did not have the benefit of the final report by the Joint Committee for making a factual determination, to arrive at a conclusion keeping in view the legal position.

The SC Bench, comprising of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna & Justice V. RAMASUBRAMANIAN held that though the report of the Joint Committee is presently   placed   before   the  Court,   it   would   not   be appropriate for this Court to advert to the details of the report   and   in  that   background   take   note   of   the   rival contentions on merits since first appellate authority, based on the same has not made a factual determination so as to consider the correctness or otherwise of the same in an appeal of the present nature.

In the present case,   the   point   which   required consideration before the SC was as to whether the   entire   material   including   the   report   of   the   Joint Committee which was relevant to consider the case of the parties   herein   was   available   before   the   NGT   and   as   to whether the NGT was justified in proceeding with the matter in the manner as it has presently done. 

As the joint committee report was not before the NGT while passing the impugned order, and as such there was no occasion for consideration of the same by the NGT. The impugned order was set aside by the SC.

In the result, the appeal was allowed by the SC. The order dated 03.02.2020 was set aside and the matter was remitted to the NGT for fresh consideration.

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