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Punjab & Haryana HC stays the order of NGT on closure of tanneries in Jalandhar

The Vacation Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court headed by Justice Kuldip Singh and Justice Rajbir Sehrawat on Thursday put a stay on the orders of NGT which had ordered for the closure of 19 tanneries in Jalandhar.

On December 18, 2017, the NGT had ordered for the closure of 35 units, including 19 tanneries in Jalandhar district on a plea filed by local residents Darshan Singh and others of Chamiyara village for discharging pollutants, including heavy metals, into drains in Jalandhar district which was resulting in serious environmental hazards. The NGT Bench had constituted a high-powered committee to inspect 61 industries and directed it to prepare a comprehensive report on tanneries.

However a petition was filed by the Punjab Leather Federation and other petitioners against the NGT and other respondents against the interim order of 18th December.

The Bench was told that a complaint, without complying with the provisions of National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, was made on December 11, 2017 and the impugned interim order was passed without calling for the reply.

According to a Report by The Tribune, the petioner while Challenging the order, had pointed out that an appeal, converted into a public interest litigation (PIL), was pending before the High Court. As such, the latter was seized of the matter pertaining to effluent control and upgrade of common effluent treatment plants (CETPs).

The petitioners alleged that the impugned order to close down 19 tanneries was ‘unjustified’ and on the basis of a ‘motivated’ complaint without even taking the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) into confidence.

The Vacation Bench after scrutinizing the impugned order of the NGT issued a notice of motion and held that the NGT Order clearly showed that the pendency of the proceedings before the High Court was brought to its notice.

Thus the order of the Vacation Bench will remain in operation till March 9th 2018, when the matter would be taken up by a High Court Division Bench.

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