M The State of Andhra Pradesh v. Raghu Ramakrishna Raju Kanumuru (M.P.).
Name of the Case: M The State of Andhra Pradesh v. Raghu Ramakrishna Raju Kanumuru (M.P.).
Case Number: Civil Appeal Nos. 4522-4524 of 2022 (Arising out of Diary No. 16486/2022)
Judges Name: Hon’ble Judges B. R. Gavai and Hima Kohli
Order dated: 01.06.2022
Facts of the case:
- The Appellant (State of Andhra Pradesh) was in the business of managing a resort near Visakhapatnam, and acquired the requisite permission to demolish and reconstruct the resort with additional facilities.
- This construction was challenged before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Amaravati through a writ petition in 2021. The Hon’ble court ordered that any construction conducted must be in accordance with the permission granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- Prior to this writ petition, the Respondent (Raghu Ramakrishna, MP) authored a letter to the NGT, who took cognizance of it and initiated proceedings (OA No. 361 of 2021) against the Appellant. They also constituted an Experts Committee, whose report explained that no violations were found to be committed by the Appellant.
- With an order on 6th May 2022, the NGT constituted a 2nd Experts Committee, whose report was yet to be submitted. In the same order, the NGT stayed the construction activities of the resort.
- The Appellant sought to vacate the stay order through an application for the same, but it was rejected by the NGT on 20th May 2022.
- Aggrieved by the Orders of the NGT on 6th May 2022 and 20th May 2022, the Appellant has appealed to the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court observed/held as follows:
- The Supreme Court, on listening to the contentions of the counsels and examining related cases, held that there is no law needed to state that Tribunals are subordinate to the High Court. The same is understood when the territorial jurisdiction of the courts are concerned.
- The judgement authored by Justice B R Gavai held that the NGT was not within its jurisdiction to continue the proceedings when it was clear that the Hon’ble High Court was examining the same matter (with the same cause of action) and had passed an interim order.
- If a constitutional court passes an order, it would prevail over the orders of any statutory tribunal. Therefore, the NGT’s continuation of the proceedings for the same cause of action is against the interest of justice.
- The impugned judgements/orders were quashed and set aside.
The appeal and related pending applications were disposed of.