Focusing on the objective of environmental protection and creation of legal framework in this regard, the Government of India enforced the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”). 

National Green Tribunal

Under the provisions of the Act, a regulatory body - the National Green Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the “NGT”) was established on October 18, 2010. The NGT aims towards effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.

NGT on CNG for airport vehicles

With the view to reduce the vehicular pollution, the NGT vide its order[1] dated November 24, 2017, ordered that all the coaches/buses and other vehicles plying at the IGI airport would be CNG and must comply with the prescribed emission standards. Non-CNG buses/coaches or other vehicles plying at the airport, should be converted to CNG within six months from the site of the issue of the aforesaid order.

Opposition Received

The above order of NGT had been appealed against by the Federation of Indian Airlines (hereinafter referred to as the “Appellants”) who submitted that there is no discussion and no reasons are given in support of the aforesaid direction in the impugned order. Another concern raised by the Appellants was that there are different types of vehicles which are deployed at the Airport and many of them cannot even be converted into CNG.

Supreme Court’s stand[2]

The Supreme Court earlier allowed a stay for the said proceedings and subsequently modified the NGT order thereby directing the use of CNG vehicles in Delhi airport only with respect to buses and coaches and excluding “other vehicles” at the airport from having to comply with the same considering the grievances raised by the Appellants. [3]

Conclusion

The orders of the Supreme Court towards increasing the CNG buses and coaches at the airport is indicative of the approach towards cleaner and safer environmental practices, at the same time agreeing with the Appellants for excluding the vehicles for which conversion is not possible.