SC stays NGT’s Baghjan ruling, flags Oil India MD presence on compensation panel

The Supreme Court Thursday stayed a National Green Tribunal order finalising the compensation determined by a panel of experts for the blowout of Indian Oil Ltd’s Baghjan well in Assam last year. The petitioners raised questions of conflict of interest as the Managing Director of Oil India (OIL) was a member of the committee appointed by the NGT to determine compensation.

“We are surprised by this order. Being the National Green Tribunal, it must have some alacrity and concern for the environment,” a bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and MR Shah observed.

The blowout—an uncontrollable release of natural gas—took place at well number 5 in the Baghjan oilfield, close to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and the Maguri-Motapung wetland, on May 27 last year.

The Supreme Court Thursday issued a notice to OIL and said in its order that “there shall be a stay of the operation of the impugned judgment and order of the NGT”

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