Top Court stays 100 Cr penalty imposed on Andhra Pradesh for constructing Avulapalli Reservoir in violation of environmental norms

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In the impugned order, the NGT had also said aside the environmental clearance granted to the project while noting that the state government department, in gross violation of environmental laws, had sought to implement an Irrigation Project by resorting to falsehood, misrepresentation and cheating.

Last week, the Supreme Court stayed the order of the National Green Tribunal, imposing a penalty of 100 crores on the Andhra Pradesh authorities for constructing the Avulapalli reservoir in violation of environmental norms.

The NGT on May 11 had set aside the Environmental Clearence (EC) given by the State-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) for the construction of the Avulapalli balancing reservoir.

The tribunal had further imposed a penalty of ₹100 crore on the state government payable to the Krishna River Management Board within a period of three months.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and MM Sundresh stayed the direction given in the impugned judgment with regard to penalty/compensation, subject to the appellants depositing an amount of Rs. 25 crore with the authorities within a period of eight weeks.

Notice has been issued in the instant appeal, returnable in October 2023.

On May 15, a CJI DY Chandrachud led bench had agreed to hear the state's appeal against the NGT's order after senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi had mentioned the same seeking urgent hearing.

"We will list it day after tomorrow since it is a public project," the bench also comprising Justices Narasimha and Pardiwala had said.

Rohatgi had further told court that this was an extraordinary case where an EC was set aside.

The NGT had set aside the EC while hearing a plea filed by farmers challenging the validity of said EC.