The tribunal observed that being a special body to hear environment cases, "throwing away" a plea looks "unreasonable" but it bound by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act, 2010.
The Act allows the Tribunal to entertain appeals only against orders passed on or after October 18, 2010 and those which stood transferred to it from the erstwhile National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA), the earlier forum to hear such cases.
The Tribunal said the Act transfers to it all cases which were filed in the NEAA but cases in which environment clearance was granted before October 18, 2010 but were not challenged before NEAA cannot be heard by it.
"It appears cases of this nature are very few and this matter relates to environment and this Tribunal is specially constituted to deal with all environmental disputes.
"Throwing away the appeal as not maintainable appears to be unreasonable at the first instance but we are helpless.
Being a statutory Tribunal we are bound by the language of the statute," said a bench of justice C V Ramulu and Devendra Kumar Agrawal.
An NGO, Thervoy Gramam Munnetra Nala Sangam, had assailed the environmental clearance granted to the industrial park being developed by the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) in 1,127 acres in Thiruvallur District of Tamil Nadu. (more) PTI UPT RKS