The Kochi Municipal Corporation was recently fined Rs 100 crore by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in response to the major fire at the Brahmapuram waste treatment plant. The Corporation’s solicitor has now made the claim that the NGT issued the order about the fine without hearing the local body’s side of the story.
“I was not given the opportunity to speak at all during the NGT hearing on the Brahmapuram problem. Only a few minutes were granted to the senior attorney who represented the Kerala Government in court”, according to Kochi Corporation’s attorney James P Thomas.
“The judgement imposing the fine was made despite the NGT having stated during the hearing that the Kochi Corporation will have an opportunity to file its reply,” the solicitor claimed.
The NGT delivered notifications to the state government and Kochi Corporation on March 6 after registering a suo motu complaint over the Brahmapuram fire. When the case was considered by the NGT on March 17, Thomas, who represented the City Corporation, was not permitted to convey the local organization’s views. Additionally, Thomas noted that the NGT only permitted senior attorney Jaganth Muthuraj, who represented the state administration, three minutes to submit his argument.
The Kochi Corporation’s attorney stated, “NGT closed the hearing on March 17 and posted the case for another day by observing that we would be given sufficient time to prepare a detailed reply as an affidavit.”
Unfortunately, the NGT broke its promise. As an alternative, he claimed, the Tribunal posted the order imposing the Rs 100 crore punishment on its website.
The local body’s solicitor stated, “We will raise this matter while going in for an appeal against the NGT order in the High Court or Supreme Court.”