Supreme Court directs District Coastal Zonal Management Authority to decide on the question of demolition of edible oil pipeline in Chennai

Supreme Court: Exercising their appellate jurisdiction, the full bench of K.M. Joseph, B.V. Nagarathna and J.B. Pardiwala, JJ while partly allowing the appeal deferred the demolition of the pipeline and stated that the matter would await the decision of the District Coastal Zonal Management Authority.

In the matter at hand, K.T.V. Health Foods (‘appellant') challenged the order passed by National Green Tribunal (‘NGT') which had allowed the appeal filed by respondent 5 and set aside the 2019 proceedings. During the proceedings, Union of India (‘respondent 1') had granted ex post facto clearance purporting to invoke paragraph 4.3 of 2011 Notification under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 (‘1986 Act').

The appellant was given clearance for laying pipeline for transfer of edible oil from the Chennai port to the storage terminal tank and for the establishment of the storage transit terminal. However, NGT found that putting up a storage tank transit terminal was contrary to 2011 Notification making it illegal as it was not located in the Chennai Port.

The bench noted that the scheme of the said 2011 notification was that the central government had declared certain areas as Coastal Regulation Zone (‘CRZ') which consisted of land areas from high tide lines to 500 m on land along the sea front.

The bench observed that originally the 2011 notification did not provide for any ex post facto approval, and it was only in the year 2018 that paragraph 4.3 came to be inserted in the 2011 notification.

The Court was of the view that the norms laid down in paragraph 8 provided for regulation of permissible activities under the 2011 notification, violation of which would disentitle a person to the post facto clearance.

The Court therefore stated that the appellants may approach the relevant Coastal Zonal Management Authority within a period of one month as regards to laying down the pipelines was concerned which will be considered by any application made in regard to the continued use of the pipeline.

It was further stated in the interest of justice, the appellants maybe permitted to continue to use the pipelines along with the storage facility for a period of one year and were accordingly given a period of 6 months to comply with the impugned order of NGT which was in regard to the direction to demolish the storage tanks.

The Court further directed the appellant to pay the compensation ordered in the first appeal within a month's time.

However, while partly allowing the appeal stated that as far as the the direction to demolish the pipeline was concerned, the matter would await the decision to be taken by the District Coastal Zonal Management Authority.

[K.T.V. Health Food Pvt. Ltd. V. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 97, decided on 01-02-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the petitioner- Advocate Mayank Kshirsagar

For the respondent Advocate Srishti Agnihotri and Advocate Gurmeet Singh Makker

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