An apex court bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan Tuesday declined the plea by the Jaypee Infratech Ltd. challenging the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) which said no completion certificate will be issued to projects within 10 km of the sanctuary.
The court also said the appeal stage has not arrived as the government has yet to take a decision on demarcating the boundaries of the eco-sensitive zone around Okhla Bird Sanctuary as directed by the NGT on April 3.
Mocking the Uttar Pradesh government stand fixing 100 metres for the outer limit of eco-sensitive zone, the court said: "One government says fragile area is 100 metres from the forest."
If a limit barring construction activities has been laid down and if constructed structures are within it, then those have to be pulled down, the court said as senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi told it that nearly 4,000 flats are completed and flat owners who have paid for them are awaiting occupation certificates.
Jaypee Infratech Ltd said if the NGT order was not stayed and buyers were not allowed to take possession of their flats, the latter would suffer both financial and in of their children's education.
"If we allow people to live there, then it would become a serious human problem," to deal with any non-compliance of environmental norms that may surface later.
Singhvi told the court the NGT says the apex court, by its 2006 verdict, had said no construction activity would take place with 10 km radius of the bird sanctuary and if it were to be taken then it would take into its ambit India Gate, Parliament House, and Connaught Place, among others.
Unmoved, the court said the real cause of action, if any, would arise only after the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) takes a decision after seeking the views of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana.
By its order, the NGT asked the three state governments to respond to queries of the MoEF about demarcation of boundaries of the eco-sensitive zone. Thereafter, the MOEF was asked to hold a meeting to decide the issue.
The NGT further said any decision by the MoEF would be subject to the final outcome of the matter already pending before the apex court.