A new circular issued by the BBMP has landed the body in hot water after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) was made aware of its existence. The circular seemed to question the NGT's authority to issue orders to the BBMP, stating that the NGT was only a 'quasi-judicial' entity and could not 'make laws'. The circular also mentioned that the BBMP need only follow the rules issued by the State government. 

The circular was issued in the context of the NGT's 'buffer-zone' ruling from last month, in which it has ordered the BBMP to halt all construction activity on lake beds and to maintain a construction-free buffer zone around Bengaluru's lakes. 

The BBMP appeared to try and justify why it would not follow this pro-green ruling in its circular. The Namma Bengaluru Foundation, which has been fighting for the issue, brought the BBMP circular to the Tribunal’s notice, highlighting the civic body’s dysfunctional governance with regards to the city’s lakes. 

The Tribunal was distressed with the language used in the circular and fumed at the Counsel representing the State of Karnataka saying "by what authority have you clarified our judgement?" (NGT's May 4, 2016, judgment on Bellandur lake encroachment). 

NGT Principal Bench, headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, added that the Tribunal would not hesitate to initiate contempt proceedings against state officials if they failed to explain satisfactorily about the reasons behind the circular.

Pulling up the BBMP for issuing the circular (dated March 30, 2017), the NGT directed all the concerned officials who approved and issued the same to be present for an April 19 hearing. The NGT demanded that the officials even be flown in if need be. 
The Tribunal also expressed serious concerns over the apathy of the officials present in the courtroom regarding exactitude of the sewage being treated or dumped in Bengaluru’s waterbodies.
MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member, Rajya Sabha and Founder Trustee, Namma Bengaluru Foundation said "The NGT is the only institution that is helping citizens save Bengaluru from this vicious shameless and apathetic nexus of builders, government officials and politicians. I hope NGT moves to hold the government officials accountable,"
Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundations said "We welcome NGT taking note of the blatantly wrong BBMP circular that was trying to create "loopholes" for builders with Lakeside projects. We have protested the Urban Development departments very strange legal interpretation to circumvent of the NGTs order of May 4, 2016, in the Bellandur Lake Encroachment.
About Namma Bengaluru Foundation

Founded and supported by Rajya Sabha member Shri. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Namma Bengaluru Foundation works towards making Bengaluru a model city, with well-planned infrastructure, well laid out neighbourhood community models and people-driven governance measures. NBF aims to be the voice of the people; a voice that needs to be heard for Bengaluru to become a truly Global City.