An advocate should not act as mere post office and be ready on legal issues after ascertaining facts, the National Green Tribunal has said while expressing dissatisfaction over a lawyer's inability to assist it.
The green panel's observation came while hearing a plea by Jammula Choudharaiah and others seeking injunction against construction activities undertaken by the Andhra Pradesh government in the Purushothapatnam Lift Irrigation Project allegedly without environmental clearance.
"Though reply has been filed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, it does not assist the Tribunal on the relevant issue of whether Environmental Clearance is required. We expected the MoEF to have taken a specific stand in the matter," the bench said recently.
"Counsel for the MoEF is also of no assistance. We expect a counsel to be ready on legal issue if necessary after ascertaining the relevant facts and law and not to act as mere post office to depend upon an affidavit which may not deal with the issue in the matter," it said.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said even though reply has been filed by the ministry concerned, it does not assist the tribunal on the relevant issue of whether environmental clearance is required and it "expected the MoEF to have taken a specific stand in the matter".
The NGT noted that since the matter has been pending for more than two years, instead of going into technicalities, the MoEF should take a decision in the matter within one month and decide if the project is in violation of laws.
The MoEF may furnish its action taken report in the matter before the next date by e-mail, the tribunal said.
The counsel for the Andhra Pradesh argued that the project is not irrigation project so as to be covered by the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and it does not envisage construction of any dam, barrage, canal and so on.
The petition had contended that the project is located at the Akhanda Godavari Left Bank at 40.800 km near Purushothapatnam Village in Seethanagaram in East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh which involves diversion of flow of Godavari river to Yeluru river.
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