New Delhi– The Supreme Court has stayed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order, imposing Rs 15 crore penalty on a bottling unit of Coca Cola company.

A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai, and A.S. Bopanna said: “There shall be stay of operation of the impugned judgment and order dated February 25, 2022 passed by the National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench.. in Original Application No.69 of 2020. I.A. stands disposed of.”

MBL, one of the major manufacturing units of the Coca-Cola company operating out of north India, was saddled with a liability to pay environment compensation to the tune of approximately Rs 15 crore by the NGT.

The tribunal said the bottling plants were working in violation of the environment law of the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) as they were functioning without the required NOC to extract the groundwater. The NGT had noted that the environmental compensation, received from project ponents (PPs), should be utilised for recharge of ground water, restoration of environmental damage, etc.

“For this purpose, we constitute a joint committee comprising, MOEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change), MOJS (Ministry of Jal Shakti), the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board), the CGWA, the UPGWD (Uttar Pradesh Ground Water Department) and District Magistrates of concerned districts. CPCB and CGWA shall be nodal authorities. Committee shall prepare restoration plan within 2 months, execute the same in next 6 months and submit compliance report to Registrar General, NGT, Principal Bench, New Delhi,” the tribunal had said.

MBL and Varun Beverages challenged the NGT’s order before the apex court. (IANS)