HC creates Environmental Fund

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday created an Environmental Fund for the purpose of utilising money received by various courts in the State for causes related to the environment.

Justice D. Krishnakumar has set guidelines in this regard to be followed by the Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority and the Puducherry Legal Services Authority. The court directed the Member-Secretary of the authority to open a separate fund in the name of ‘Environmental Fund’ to be utilised for the purpose of planting, maintaining trees and cleaning and maintaining waterbodies.

The taluk-level Legal Services Committees can identify places for planting saplings with help from officials from the local bodies and submit a proposal to the District Legal Services Authority on the costs involved.

The District Legal Services Authority, in turn, could send a proposal to the Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority for release of funds from the Environmental Fund to maintain the saplings.

The committees can take expert advice from the Forest and the Horticulture departments on choosing the type of saplings to be planted on court premises or any other public place, the court added.

The fruit and vegetable produce resulting from the saplings could be marketed, the court observed.

The Registry was directed to circulate the copy of the order to the subordinate courts after obtaining necessary orders from the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.

The court said that the instructions would be applicable mutatis mutandis to the High Court Legal Services Committee.

The court passed the direction while disposing of a civil revision petition after the respondents in the case expressed their willingness to contribute to a welfare organisation.

The court observed that in the wake of deteriorating sources of life and the Right to Clean Environment covered under the Right to Life, a duty is cast on the court to protect Mother Nature so as to be cherished by future generations.

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