State Of Himachal Pradesh vs Yogendra Mohan Sengupta 2024 INSC 30 – NGT – HP Town & Country Planning Act

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 32, 226 -Independence and separation of powers – Giving a direction or advisory sermons to the Executive in respect of the sphere which is exclusively within the domain of the Executive or the Legislature would neither be legal nor proper. The Court cannot be permitted to usurp the functions assigned to the Executive, the Legislature or the subordinate legislature – Neither the High Courts while exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution nor this Court while exercising powers under Article 32 of the Constitution can direct the legislature or its delegatee to enact a law or subordinate legislation in a particular manner – Constitution of India recognizes the independence and separation of powers amongst the three branches of the State viz. the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each of the branches are co-equal. (Para 65-69)

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 226 – High Courts exercise the power of judicial review over all the Tribunals which are situated within its jurisdiction [ Referred to L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India (1997) 3 SCC 261 : 1997 INSC 288 ; Priya Gupta and Another v. Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (2013) 11 SCC 404 : 2012 INSC 601 ] (Para 101-107)

Precedent -Law declared by the higher court in the State is binding on authorities and tribunals under its superintendence and they cannot ignore it – Disrespect to the constitutional ethos and breach of discipline have a grave impact on the credibility of judicial institution and encourages chance litigation – Predictability and certainty are important hallmarks of judicial jurisprudence developed in this country, as discipline is sine qua non for effective and efficient functioning of the judicial system – (Para 108)

Himachal Pradesh Town & Country Planning Act, 1977 – TCP Act empowers the State Government and the Director to exercise the powers to enact a piece of delegated legislation, the NGT could not have imposed fetters on such powers and directed it to exercise its powers in a particular manner – NGT could not have directed the delegatee who has been delegated powers under the TCP Act to enact the regulations, to do so in a particular manner. A. (Para 70,88)

Enivornment – Sustainable Development -Need to have a balance between the requirement of development and preservation of ecology and environment – While ensuring the developmental activities so as to meet the demands of growing population, it is also necessary that the issues with regard to environmental and ecological protection are addressed too. (Para 113-122) [Referred to T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad v. Union of India and Others 2023 INSC 430, State of Uttar Pradesh and Others v. Uday Education and Welfare Trust and Others 2022 INSC 465, Essar Oil Limited v. Halar Utkarsh Samiti (2004) 2 SCC 392 : 2004 INSC 40, Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India (1996) 5 SCC 281 : 1996 INSC 237 ; N.D. Jayal and Another v. Union of India (2004) 9 SCC 362 : 2003 INSC 438 , Rajeev Suri v. Delhi Development Authority and Others (2022) 11 SCC 1: 2021 INSC 4, Resident’s Welfare Association and Another v. Union Territory of Chandigarh and Others (2023) 8 SCC 643 : 2023 INSC 22 ]

Precedent – What could be a binding precedent ? it is not profitable to extract a sentence here and there from the judgment and to build upon it -The essence of the decision is its ratio and not every observation found therein -A deliberate judicial decision arrived at after hearing an argument on a question which arises in the case or is put in issue would constitute a precedent. Referred to Union of India and Others v. Dhanwanti Devi (1996) 6 SCC 44 : 1996 INSC 911. (Para 74-75)

Distinction between legislative function and administrative function – Referred to Union of India and Another v. Cynamide India Ltd. (1987) 2 SCC 720 : 1987 INSC 100- A legislative act is the creation and promulgation of a general rule of conduct without reference to particular cases; whereas an administrative act is the making and issue of a specific direction or the application of a general rule to a particular case in accordance with the requirements of policy. It has been held that legislation is the process of formulating a general rule of conduct without reference to particular cases and usually operating in future. Whereas, administration is the process of performing particular acts of issuing particular orders or of making decisions which apply general rules to particular cases. It has also been held that rule-making is normally directed towards the formulation of requirements having a general application to all members of a broadly identifiable class; whereas an adjudication, on the other hand, applies to specific individuals or situations. (Para 49-50)

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