Nothing more damaging than feeling helpless: NGT warns Goa agency against violations
The NGT Western Zone bench at Pune took offence to the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority repeatedly seeking more time while the appeal was being heard, allowing illegal structures to remain standing
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pulled up the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) for failing to tackle the issue of illegal constructions within the coastal regulation zone, saying that the moment citizens start feeling helpless, it will damage democracy.
The NGT Western Zone bench at Pune took offence to the authority repeatedly seeking more time while the appeal was being heard, thus allowing the structures to remain standing.
“The (CRZ) Notification issued in 1991 has not been complied with till date and with the conspiracy aid and assistance of Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA), the polluters and violators of law are still continuing their activities,” an NGT bench comprising justices Sheo Kumar Singh and Satyawan Singh Garbyal said.
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“When the law protector becomes the law violator, how will the law be protected?
“Under the guise of this pending appeal, the GCZMA promotes only the appeal, fails to submit the reply and [is] continuously delaying in filing a reply and thus indirectly helping the illegal construction and this has become the business of GCZMA. In so many cases, we see that old cases are pending and no action is being taken by the GCZMA and replies are not being filed. This is highly objectionable and in violation of CRZ Rules,” the NGT added.
The NGT also warned government servants in positions of power that they would be doing a huge disservice to society at large if they only further feelings of helplessness among the public.
“Under our Constitution sovereignty vests in the people. Every limb of the constitutional machinery is obliged to be people oriented. The servants of the government are also the servants of the people and the use of their power must always be subordinate to their duty of service.
“Harassment of the common man by public authorities is socially abhorring and legally impermissible. It may harm him (the common man) personally but the injury to society is far more grievous. Crime and corruption thrive and prosper in the society due to lack of public resistance. Nothing is more damaging than the feeling of helplessness. An ordinary citizen instead of complaining and fighting succumbs to the pressure of undesirable functioning in offices instead of standing against it,” the NGT bench said.
The parties were given additional time to file their replies while the matter was transferred to the principal bench.