SUPREME COURT: In the case of Moon Beverages Limited & Anr v Sushil Bhatt and Ors, the Supreme Court recently stayed NGT’s order of imposing a penalty of approximately 15 lakhs on Moon Beverages Limited, the bottling unit of Coca-Cola, they are guilty of exploiting groundwater for bottling plants in Uttar Pradesh.
The bench of Justices LN Rao, BR Gavai and AS Bopanna in their order said, “There shall be stay of operation of the impugned judgment and order dated 25.02.2022 passed by the National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, New in Original Application No.69 of 2020.”
Respondent, Sushil Bhatt filed a complaint against Moon Beverages Limited, they are alleging that they had not obtained any ‘No Objection Certificate’ from CGWA for extraction of ground though their units were situated in notified “over-exploited” areas where abstraction of groundwater could not be permitted.
The NGT’s Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson), Sudhir Agarwal and Brijesh Sethi, and Prof A. Senthil Vel and Dr. Afroz Ahmad (expert members) heled that the bottling plants were working in violation of the environment law of CGWA as they were functioning without the required NOC to extract the groundwater.
Therefore, the Tribunal concluded that they are responsible for causing damage to the environment by causing illegal abstraction of groundwater for which it may be held accountable.
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