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Sand mining: NGT raps Baghpat DM for refusing to receive uncertified order, slaps fine of Rs 10k

Law Crime

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The National Green Tribunal has rapped the Baghpat District Magistrate for refusing to receive an uncertified copy of its order and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on him for "slackness" in stopping sand mining in the area.

The DM tendered an apology to the green panel, which said the tribunal's order are uploaded on the internet to immediately bring it to the knowledge of the officer concerned. The compliance of the order, in letter and spirit, is the duty of officer and he should not ignore the information given by the party or advocate, it said.

The tribunal said that in case the officer wishes to verify he can immediately contact the government advocate or any other person, for his satisfaction, but, he does not have the liberty of refusing receipt of the order, on the pretext of not being a certified copy.

"In contemporary times and days of digital world the very purpose of uploading the order on the internet, is to immediately bring it to the knowledge of the officer/party concern and also to facilitate them to download the said order.

"All these things are not required to be explained to a senior and responsible officer like a District Magistrate or Superintendent of Police," a bench, headed by Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore, said.

The tribunal had on June 14, 2018 ordered the District Magistrate and the District Mining Officer to ensure that no mechanical mining is done and directed them to keep a regular watch around the mining site.

A copy of the said order was directed to be sent to the Superintendent of Police, Baghpat through e-mail.

On the next day, the counsel for the applicant in the case had submitted that that the order is not being received by the Collector on the grounds that a certified copy should be furnished after which the tribunal had directed that a certified copy be supplied to the counsel for the applicant and also sent the same through e-mail.

When the bench enquired with him, the DM had repeated his earlier version with regard to the order but later he tendered an apology for the mistake.

The tribunal said, "After having considered the aforesaid facts and circumstances and also the reports on record, it leaves no room of doubt that despite of interim order having been passed on June 14, 2018 the mining operation were continuing. This has resulted because of slackness on the part of the senior officer of the District Baghpat."

The NGT said the District Magistrate was expected to immediately comply with the order of the court and in case he had anything in mind in that regard, he ought to have immediately contacted the government counsel and through him approached the tribunal.

"As the District Magistrate has tendered an apology, which prima facie establishes that he had committed a mistake, we deem it proper to impose a cost of Rs 10,000 which he has to deposit with Uttar Pradesh State Pollution Control Board within a period of one week and submit the receipt in the office of the tribunal," the bench said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Praveen and others against the illegal sand mining being carried out by private parties in Baghpat district in Uttar Pradesh.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, February 15 2019. 17:00 IST