NGT: The National Green Tribunal has rejected a petition of the Punjab National Bank requesting it for de-sealing its secured property. The NGT said that the bank was guilty of providing financial assistance to a person illegally carrying out commercial activities in a residential area.
The tribunal was hearing the bank’s petition, according to which the PNB had earlier sanctioned a loan of Rs 250 crore to a person by creating an equitable mortgage of the property in Chanakya Place here, and for the realisation of the dues, it had auctioned the collateral property to another person. The purchaser would ensure that no illegal activities are carried in the said premises, the bank said seeking the tribunal’s directions for de-sealing.
What NGT said?
A bench of Judicial Member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Expert Member A Senthil Vel noted that the tribunal had in a 2018 order directed the Delhi Chief Secretary to close the illegally operating commercial units like factories, workshops and industrial units in residential colonies, including those in Chanakyapuri Phase I, Phase II and Sitapuri of West Delhi. Pursuant to the order, the said premises in Chanakya Place was reportedly found running commercial or industrial activity in a residential area and was thus sealed, the bench noted.
'' …The fact remains that the activities in question were not permissible on the premises in question and therefore, the premises was rightly sealed. That being so, no question arises for us to pass any order of de-sealing at the request of the bank, which is guilty of providing financial assistance for carrying out illegal activity in residential premises…,'' the bench said, rejecting the plea.
The green panel said before providing financial assistance, the bank did not verify whether the commercial activity in the said premises was legal and therefore ”encouraged and helped” a person committing a breach of law by undertaking industrial activity in a residential premises.
“Hence, per se, it (PNB) is also on abettor of a crime in question, responsible for the continuance of illegal activities on premises in question. In fact, the bank also ought to have been proceeded by the authority concerned for such illegal activity,” the tribunal said.
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