NGT has power to execute its orders as decrees of civil court: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court passed a judgement on 27th February, 2023. This was seen in the case of Sushil Raghav v. Union of India and Others SC/1629/2022 and the case was presided over by Hon’ble of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala


The appellant had moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to execute an NGT order passed in 2021 regarding remedial action to tackle the discharge of untreated sewage and effluents being discharged in stormwater drains in Ghaziabad.

Earlier, the appellant had moved the NGT with an execution application on the same issue.

However, the NGT noted that the issue had already been dealt with in an earlier order passed in January 2021, which related to remedial action to tackle water pollution in the Yamuna river and connected drains and tributaries in Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. In a March 2021 order, the NGT also passed a slew of directions on such issues.

One such direction was to take an independent assessment of flow in all the drains reaching Yamuna within two months. Further, the NGT had also directed that an action plan to be submitted for setting up Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) within definite and monitorable timelines.As such, in November 2021, the NGT declined to entertain the execution application filed by the appellant under Section 25 of the NGT Act.

The NGT opined that there was no case for taking recourse to its powers under Section 25, and added that the appellant could have sought the remedy provided under Section 26. Section 26 deals with the penalty for failure to comply with the orders of the NGT.


The Supreme Court recently observed that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has power to execute its orders as decrees of a civil court under Section 25 of the NGT Act, 2010.

A three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala explained that the NGT is entrusted with sufficient powers to ensure that its orders are complied with. 

 The Supreme Court noted that the NGT had erred in its approach and opined that the Tribunal should have exercised its power to execute its orders under Section 25. The Supreme Court held:

“We are of the considered view that the observation of the Tribunal that there was no case for executing the earlier order under Section 25 is misconceived. The Tribunal is entrusted with the wholesome power to ensure that its orders are complied with. The absence of sewerage facilities is an important aspect which would merit the exercise of powers by the Tribunal under Section 25. The invocation of the power to levy a penalty under Section 26 will not necessarily sub-serve the purpose.”

Therefore, the Court allowed the appeal. The NGT was directed to take up the execution application and consider what orders would be necessary to effectuate its March 2021 order.

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Order reviewed by Drishti verma

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