Imposing Cost by NGT: Notice to All Bar Associations

The Madras High Court today suo motu impleaded secretaries of three bar associations and two advocates' associations on a PIL challenging the order of the National Green Tribunal,(South Zone) Chennai, directing a man to pay Rs 10,000 to its Bar Association for condoning the 36- day delay in preferring an appeal.

The associations are Madras Bar Association, Madras High Court Advocates Association, DRT/DRAT Bar Association, The Service Bar Association, Women Lawyers Association, Law Association.

Petitioner Sundarajan had challenged the July 25 2012 clearance of the Environment and Forest Ministry for Units III to VI of Kundankulam Nuclear Project before NGT, South zone.

To condone his delay in filing the appeal against the Ministry's order, the NGT south zone directed him to pay Rs 10,000 to its Bar Association in Chennai.

He challenged the payment by filing a PIL in the Madras High Court.

The first bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Sathish K Agnihotri and Justice K K Sasidharan, before whom the PIL came up today, issued a notice to all the Bar Associations returnable by March 17 2014.

The bench in its interim order said two issues raised by Sundarajan - of imposing cost by NGT in an unreasonable manner, thereby practically making it impossible for parties to to agitate on issues of social importance and directing him to pay the cost only to one Association "just to please members of Green Tribunal Bar Association, who are practicing before the Tribunal", requires consideration after ascertaining the views of the Bar Associations.

It then issued a notice all Bar associations and posted the matter to March 17.

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