Niti Aayog commissions study to assess “unintended” economic impact of select SC, NGT decisions

Outlook India, February 10, 2021

Government think tank Niti Aayog has commissioned a study to assess the “unintended” economic impact of select decisions of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal and to review if the stated objective behind the judicial pronouncements was met, according to a project brief document.

Jaipur-based CUTS International has been asked to do the study on the apex court rulings on halting consultation of Mopa Airport in Goa, stopping iron ore mining in Goa, and shutting down Sterlite Copper”s Tuticorin plant in Tamil Nadu.

While an email sent to Niti Aayog spokesperson remained unanswered, CUTS International director Amol Kulkarni confirmed receiving the mandate.

“This study will ex-post examine the unintended economic consequences of key judicial/ quasi judicial decisions and review if the objective of the judicial decision was met,”  according to the CUTS International project brief document.

As per the document, to highlight the economic impact, five cases have been selected of which three were decided by the Supreme Court and the other two by the National Green Tribunal.

“Judicial decisions have far-reaching economic impacts which are often not taken into account at the time of decision making. Some of the recent judgments/orders of the Supreme Court of India (SC) and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) indicate that the economic impact analysis of judicial decisions is yet to gain broader acceptance.

“The absence of ex-ante analysis of the economic costs associated with a decision is further exacerbated when judicial activism by courts and tribunals is also in play,” the document said.

The document said that the objective of the study is building a narrative to support better sensitivity of economic impacts of judgments by the judiciary and will serve as useful inputs for the training of judicial officers.

The NGT cases deal with the sand mining ban case and halt on construction activities in Delhi NCR, the document said adding these have been some of the most significant cases in the recent past that have caused substantial damage to the economy.

The document noted that the judiciary needs to take into account environment, equity, and economic considerations while deciding cases, and needs to institutionalise a mechanism for it.

The Niti Aayog-funded project cost was Rs 24.8 lakh and study was supposed to start in February 2020 and get over by February 2021, but was delayed due to COVID-19 lockdown, Kulkarni said.PTI BKS ANZ DRR DRR

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