State of Madhya Pradesh v Centre For Environment Protection Research And Development & Ors
(CIVIL APPEAL NOS.8932-8933 OF 2015) decided on August 28, 2020
Bench- Indira Banerjee, Arun Mishra, JJ.
The appeal was filed by state against an order passed by National Green Tribunal (hereinafter referred as NGT) directing that motor vehicles not complying with the requirement of displaying a valid “Pollution Under Control” (hereinafter referred as PUC) Certificate would suffer the consequence of suspension and/or revocation of the Registration Certificate of the vehicle, and would also not be provided with fuel by any dealer or petrol pump, further appellant was directed to make deposit of 25 crores byway of security for compliance with the order.
1- Whether NGT could have directed the appellant state government to issue orders/directions to petrol pumps or retail outlets not to supply fuel to vehicles not having a valid PUC.
2- Whether motor vehicles not having valid PUC be barred from being provided with fuel by any retailer or petrol pump.
3- Can a tribunal pass orders directing the state government to make a monetary deposit to secure compliance of an order?
The Supreme Court, answered the questions in negative, held NGT decision not to supply fuel to vehicles not having a valid PUC Certificate as ultra vires. It also set aside the order of vehicles be barred from being provided with fuel by pumps and retailers. Supreme Court also struck down the NGT order of directing the state government to make monetary deposit and held that when a statute requires a thing to be done in a particular manner it has to be done in same manner. Supreme Court summarises the penalty enshrined in Motor Vehicle Act for non-compliance of displaying PUC Certificate as (i) suspension of registration certificate; (ii) imprisonment which may extend to three months; (iii) fine which may extend to Rs.10,000/- or both (iv) disqualification for holding licence for a period of three months (v) imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to Rs.10,000/- or with fine.
The Supreme Court in its judgement while acknowledging the need to have strictly comply with PUC rule set aside the NGT orders as they do not comply with NGT Act or Motor Vehicle Act and held that penalty could be imposed only on statutory grounds.