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SOCIETY OF INDIAN AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURES V/S STATE OF KERALA, THROUGH ITS CHIEF SECERTARY & OTHERS, decided on Friday, June 10, 2016.
[ In the High Court of Kerala, WP(C)No. 19067, 19249, 19255 & 19267 of 2016. ] 10/06/2016
Judge(s) : P.B. SURESH KUMAR
Advocate(s) : M/s M. Kiranlal, B. Dipu Sach Deev Narain.
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    P.B. Suresh Kumar J.1. These writ petitions are preferred challenging the interim order dated 23.05.2016 passed by the National Green Tribunal Circuit Bench Kochi in OA.No.137 of 2016 invoking the power of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. When the writ petitions came up for admission the applicant in the proceedings before the National Green Tribunal entered appearance through their counsel and opposed the admission of the writ petitions on the ground that the writ petitions are not maintainable. The learned counsel for the petitioners as also the learned counsel for the applicant before the National Green Tribunal were in the circumstances heard on the question of maintainability.2. The National Green Tribunal (“the GreenTribunal” for short) has been constituted under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 (“the Act” for short). Sri.Subhash Chand the learned counsel for the applicant in the proceedings before the Green Tribunal contended that in the light of Section 22 of the Act this Court cannot exercise the power of judicial review over orders passed by the Green Tribunal. The learned counsel also contended relying on the decision of the Apex court in L.Chandrakumar v. Union o f India [(1997)3 SCC 261] that if at all it is found that this Court can exercise the power of judicial review over orders passed by the Green Tribunal the said power can be exercised only by a Division Bench of this Court. The learned counsel further contended that at any rate in the light of the alternate remedy provided by way of appeal under the Act against orders passed by the Green Tribunal before the Apex Court this Court may not exercise the discretionary power of judicial review against orders in the nature of the one challenged in the writ petitions. Lastly it was contended by the learned counsel for the applicant before the Green Tribunal that the order impugned in the writ petitions being an ad interim order the writ petitioners have every right to approach the Green Tribunal seeking variation of the order. According to the learned counsel this Court may not exercise its discretionary jurisdiction against the impugned order on that ground as well.3. The preamble of the Act indicates that the Green Tribunal was constituted for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and othernatural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment. Under sub section (1) of Section 14 of the Act the Green Tribunal has jurisdiction over all civil cases where a substantial question relating to environment is involved and such question arises out of the implementation of the Enactments specified in Schedule-I. Sub section (2) of Section 14 of the Act provides that the Green Tribunal shall hear the disputes arising from the questions referred to in sub section (1) and settle such disputes and pass orders thereon. Section 19 of the Act provides that the Green Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Civil Procedure Code but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice. Section 19(4)(j) of the Act provides that the Tribunal has the power to pass an interim order after providing the parties concerned an opportunity to be heard. Section 22 of the Act provides for a remedy of appeal to the Supreme Court as against orders of the Green Tribunal. It reads as follows :22. Appeal to Supreme Court--Any person aggrieved by any award decision or order of the Tribunal may file an appeal to the Supreme Court within ninety days from the date of communication of the award decision or order of the Tribunal to him on any one or more of the grounds specified in Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 (5 of 1908) :Provided that the Supreme Court may entertain any appeal after the expiry of ninety days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from preferring the appeal.Section 29 of the Act bars the jurisdiction of the civil court. Section 29 reads thus:“29. Bar of jurisdiction- (1) With effect from the date of establishment of the Tribunal under this Act no civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any appeal in respect of any matter which the Tribunal is empowered to determine under its appellate jurisdiction.(2) No civil court shall have jurisdiction to settle dispute or entertain any question relating to any claim for granting any relief or compensation or restitution of property damaged or environment damaged which may be adjudicated upon by the Tribunal and no injunction in respect of any action taken or to be taken by or before the Tribunal in respect of the settlement of such dispute or any such claim for granting any relief or compensation or restitution of property damaged or environment damaged shall be granted by the civil court.4. Article 323A of the Constitution empowers the Parliament to create Administrative Tribunals for adjudication of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State or any local or other authority. Article 323B of the Constitution empowers the Parliament to create Tribunals for resolution of disputes and complaints with respect to matters specified therein. Clause 2(d) of Article 323A and Clause 3(d) of Article 323B as it stood when the said Articles were introduced by virtue of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act 1976 empowered the Parliament to exclude the jurisdiction of all courts except the Supreme Court under Article 136 with respect to all or any of the matters falling within the jurisdiction of the tribunals coming under the said Articles. It is in exercise of the power conferred under Article 323A the Parliament enacted the Administrative Tribunals Act 1985 for constituting Administrative Tribunals to deal with matters enumerated under Article 323A of the Constitution. Section 28 of the Administrative Tribunals Act when it was introduced contained a provision that no court except the Apex Court shall have the power to interfere with the decisions of the Administrative Tribunals constituted under the said Act. In L.Chandrakumar (supra) the Apex Court held that the power vested in the High Courts under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution to exercise judicial superintendence over the decisions of all courts and Tribunals within their respective jurisdictions is also part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Paragraph 79 of the judgment in the case reads thus;“79. We also hol d that the power vested in the High Courts to exercise judicial superintendence over the decisions of all courts and tribunals within their respective jurisdictions is also part of the basic structure of the Constitution. This is because a situation where the HighCourts are divested of all other judicial functions apart from that of constitutional interpretation is equally to be avoided.”In the light of the said finding the Apex Court struck down Clause (2)(d) of Article 323A and Clause (3)(d) of Article 323B to the extent they excluded the jurisdiction of the High Courts and the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. The Apex Court also declared Section 28 of the Administrative Tribunals Act to the extent it excluded the jurisdiction of the High Court as unconstitutional. Consequently it w as directed by the Apex Court in the said case that thereafter a party aggrieved by the decision of the Administrative Tribunal will be entitled to challenge the order before the High Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution. Later in State of Karnataka V. Vishwabharathi House Building Cooperative Society [(2003)2 SCC 412] in the context of the provisions contained in the Consumer Protection Act the Apex Court clarified that the power of judicial superintendence being part of the basic structure of the Constitution the same cannot be taken away and the same would operate as an adequate safeguard for persons who are aggrieved by the decisions of the forums constituted under the said Act. Later a Five Judges Bench of the Apex Court in State of West Bengal & Others V. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights West Bengal & Others [(2010) 3 SCC 571] again clarified that the power of judicial superintendence being part of the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be ousted or abridged even by a Constitutional amendment. It is thus evident that the power of judicial superintendence conferred on this Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution being part of the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be taken away by virtue of the provisions contained in a statute.5. As far as the present case is concerned the Act does not exclude the jurisdiction of this Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution. It excludes only the jurisdiction of the civil courts under Section 29 of the Act. The essence of the argument of the learned counsel for the applicant before the Green Tribunal was that there is an implied exclusion of the jurisdiction of this Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution. When the Apex Court has struck down the provisions of the statutes which expressly exclude the judicial superintendence of this Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution one cannot be heard to contend that there is implied exclusion for had there been an express exclusion the same would have been struck down as unconstitutional. The Bombay High Court in Anil Hoble v. Kashinath Jairam Shetye (2015 SCC Online Bombay 3699) has also taken the same view in an identical matter challenging an order passed by the Green Tribunal.6. The learned counsel for the applicant before the Green Tribunal contended relying on the decision of the Apex Court in Cicily Kallarackal v. Vehicle Factory (2012 (3) KHC 689) that in the context of an identical provision in the Consumer Protection Act the Apex Court has held that a writ petition under article 226 of the Constitution against an order of the National Commission constituted under the said Act is not maintainable. It is one thing to say that the power of judicial superintendence available to the High Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution cannot be exercised against the orders passed by the forums constituted under a statute and it is yet another thing to say that on the peculiar nature of the effective alternate remedy provided for under the statute it is not appropriate or desirable for the High Court to exercise the power of superintendence under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution. In the light of the decision of the Apex Court in State of Karnataka V. Vishwabharathi House Building Cooperative Society (supra) wherein the Apex Court has reiterated that the power of judicial superintendence available to the High Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution can be exercised against the decisions of the forums constituted under the said Act the decision in Cicily Kallarackal v. Vehicle Factory (supra) can only be understood as a decision holding that in the nature of the right of appeal provided in the statute a person aggrieved by the decision of the National Commission shall approach the Apex Court and shall not invoke Article 226 of the Constitution to challenge such orders.7. The learned counsel for the applicant before the Green Tribunal relying on the decision of the Apex Court in Union of India and others v. Major General Shri Kant Sharma and another [(2015)6 SCC 773] contended that the Apex Court having regard to the provision contained in the Armed Forces Tribunal Act for preferring appeal against the decisions of the Armed Forces Tribunal directly before the Apex Court held that the High Court shall not exercise the judicial superintendence over orders passed by the Armed Forced Tribunal invoking Article 226 of the Constitution. According to the learned counsel the decision in the said case squarely applies to the facts of the present case also as there is provision for preferring appeals before the Apex Court against the decisions of the Green Tribunal also. As noted above the question whether the High Court can exercise judicial superintendence over orders passed by a Tribunal constituted under a particular statute and the question whether it is esirable for the High Court to exercise the power of superintendence when an effective alternate remedy by way of appeal is provided to the Apex Court against the orders of the Tribunal are entirely different questions. A close scrutiny of the judgment of the Apex Court in Union of India and others v. Major General Shri Kant Sharma and another (supra) indicates that on an analysis of the various decisions rendered by the Apex Court including the decision in L.Chandrakumar (supra) the Apex Court in the said case summarised the law in paragraph 36 of the judgment thus :36. The aforesaid decisions rendered by this Court can be summarised as follows:(i) The power of judicial review vested in the High Court under Article 226 is one of the basic essential features of the Constitution and any legislation including the Armed Forces Tribunal Act 2007 cannot override or curtail jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.(Refer: L. Chandra Kumar3 and S.N. Mukherjee11.)(ii) The jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 and this Court under Article 32 though cannot be circumscribed by the provisions of any enactment they will certainly have due regard to the legislative intent evidenced by the provisions of the Acts and would exercise their jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of the Act. (Refer: Mafatlal Industries Ltd.18)(iii) When a statutory forum is created by law for redressal of grievances a writ petition should not be entertained ignoring the statutory dispensation. (Refer: Nivedita Sharma24.)(iv) The High Court will not entertain a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution if an effective alternative remedy is available to the aggrieved person or the statute under which the action complained of has been taken itself contains a mechanism for redressal of grievance. (Refer: Nivedita Sharma24.)The summary of the various decisions of the Apex Court as extracted in paragraph 36 indicates that the Apex Court in the said case also upheld the proposition that the power of judicial superintendence vested in the High Court under Article 226 is one of the basic essential features of the Constitution and any legislation including the Armed Forces Tribunal Act 2007 cannot override or curtail jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. Thereafter the Court proceeded to consider the question whether it is desirable for the High Courts to entertain writ petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution against the orders passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal and held that if the High Court exercises the power of superintendence over the decisions of the Armed Forces Tribunal there is likelihood of an anomalous situation for the aggrieved person in praying for relief from the Apex Court. Paragraphs 42 43 and 44 of the judgment dealing with the said issue read thus :“Likelihood of anomalous situation42. If the High Court entertains a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India against an order passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal under Section 14 or Section 15 of the Act bypassing the machinery of statute i.e. Sections 30 and 31 of the Act there is likelihood of anomalous situation for the aggrieved person in praying for relief from this Court.43. Section 30 provides for an appeal to this Court subject to leave granted under Section 31 of the Act. By clause (2) of Article 136 of the Constitution of India the appellate jurisdiction of this Court under Article 136 has been excluded in relation to any judgment determination sentence or order passed or made by any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the Armed Forces. If any person aggrieved by the order of the Tribunal moves the High Court under Article 226 and the High Court entertains the petition and passes a judgment or order the person who may be aggrieved against both the orders passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal and the High Court cannot challenge both the orders in one joint appeal. The aggrieved person may file leave to appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution against the judgment passed by the High Court but in view of the bar of jurisdiction by clause (2) of Article 136 this Court cannot entertain appeal against the order of the Armed Forces Tribunal. Once the High Court entertains a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution against the order of the Armed Forces Tribunal and decides the matter the person who thus approached the High Court will also be precluded from filing an appeal under Section 30 with leave to appeal under Section 31 of the Act against the order of the Armed Forces Tribunal as he cannot challenge the order passed by the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution under Section 30 read with Section 31 of the Act. Thereby there is a chance of anomalous situation. Therefore it is always desirable for the High Court to act in terms of the law laid down by this Court as referred to above which is binding on the High Court under Article 141 of the Constitution of India allowing the aggrieved person to avail the remedy under Section 30 read with Section 31 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act.44. The High Court (the Delhi High Court) while entertaining the writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution bypassed the machinery created under Sections 30 and 31 of the Act. However we find that the Andhra Pradesh High Court and the Allahabad High Court had not entertained the petitions under Article 226 and directed the writ petitioners to seek resort under Sections 30 and 31 of the Act. Further the law laid down by this Court as referred to above being binding on the High Court we are of the view that the Delhi High Court was not justified in entertaining the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.”The view taken by the Apex Court in arriving at the said conclusion is that in the light of the bar contained in Article 136 (2) of the Constitution in exercising the power of the Supreme Court under Article 136(1) in relation to the decisions rendered by the Armed Forces Tribunal the Supreme Court may not be in a position to entertain a composite Special Leave Petition challenging both the decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal as also the decision of the High Court confirming the same at the instance of a person who is aggrieved by both the said decisions. It is seen that it is in view of the said anomalous situation the Apex Court in the said case took the view that it is desirable for the High Court not to entertain a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution against orders passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal. According to me the decision in Union of India and others v. Major Ge neral Shri Kant Sharma and another (supra) is a decision rendered by the Apex Court on an interpretation of the provisions contained in the Armed Forces Tribunal Act and the same cannot be relied on to contend that the judicial superintendence of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is not available when an appeal is provided under the statute against orders passed by the tribunal directly before the Apex Court.8. Above all in a democracy governed by Rule of Law the only acceptable repository of absolute discretion should be the courts. As noted above Judicial review is the basic and essential feature of the constitutional scheme entrusted to the judiciary and it cannot be dispensed with even by the Constitution. Any institutional mechanism or authority in negation of judicial review is destructive of the basic structure. So long as the alternative institutional mechanism is not less effective than the High Court it is consistent with the constitutional scheme. But wherever the alternative institutional mechanism fails the power of judicial review shall be the safeguard for the common people. In the said view of the matter I have no hesitation to hold that the writ petition filed against the decision of the Green Tribunal is maintainable.9. I shall now proceed to deal with the contention raised by the learned counsel for the applicant before the Green Tribunal that if it is found that this Court can exercise the power of judicial review over the orders of the Green Tribunal the writ petitions filed for the said purpose shall be dealt with only by a Division Bench. The learned counsel has relied on paragraph 93 of the decision of the Apex Court in L.Chandrakumar (supra) in support of the said contention. To examine the aforesaid contention it is necessary to take note of some important events that followed the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act 1976. As noted above it is by virtue of Article 323A introduced as per the said amendment the Parliament enacted the Administrative Tribunals Act 1985. The Act created Administrative Tribunals as an alternate institutional mechanism or authority to adjudicate service disputations. It was contemplated that the tribunal shall be effective and efficacious to exercise the power of judicial review. In the said context having regard to the provisions contained in the Administrative Tribunals Act in R.K. Jain v. nion of India [(1993) 4 SCC 119] the Apex Court took the view that the dispensation of justice by the Tribunals constituted under the said Act is much to be desired and the remedy of appeal by special leave before the Apex Court under Article 136 of the Constitution being costly and prohibitive is working as constant constraint to litigant public who could ill afford to reach the Apex Court. It was also observed in the said case in the context of the disputes to be resolved by the Administrative Tribunal that an appeal to a bench of two judges of the respective High Court over the orders of the Tribunal within its territorial jurisdiction on questions of law would assuage the growing feeling of injustice of those who can ill afford to approach the Supreme Court. Paragraph 76 of the judgment in R.K. Jain (supra) reads thus:76. Before parting with the case it is necessary to express our anguish over the ineffectivity of the alternative mechanism devised for judicial reviews. The judicial review and remedy are fundamental rights of the citizens. The dispensation of justice by the tribunals is much to be desired. We are not doubting the ability of the members or Vice-Chairman (non- Judges) who may be experts in their regular service. But judicial adjudication is a special process and would efficiently be administered by advocate Judges. The remedy of appeal by special leave under Article 136 to this Court also proves to be costly and prohibitive and far-flung distance too is working as constant constraint to litigant public who could ill afford to reach this Court. An appeal to a Bench of two Judges of the respective High Courts over the orders of the tribunals within its territorial jurisdiction on questions of law would assuage a growing feeling of injustice of those who can ill afford to approach the Supreme Court. Equally the need for recruitment of members of the Bar to man the tribunals as well as the working system of the tribunals need fresh look and regular monitoring is necessary. An expert body like the Law Commission of India would make an in-depth study in this behalf including the desirability to bring CEGAT under the control of Law and Justice Department in line with Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and to make appropriate urgent recommendations to the Government of India who should take remedial steps by an appropriate legislation to overcome the handicaps and difficulties and make the tribunals effective and efficient instruments for making judicial review efficacious inexpensive and satisfactory.Paragraph 91 of the decision of the Apex Court in .Chandrakumar (supra) indicates that it is in the light of the observations made by the Apex Court in R.K.Jain (supra) the WPC 19067/16 & con. cases 21 Apex Court directed in the said case that the decisions of the Tribunals constituted under 323A and 323B of the Constitution can be challenged before a Division Bench of the High Court within whose territorial jurisdiction the Tribunal falls. Paragraphs 91 and 93 of the judgment of the Apex Court in L.Chandrakumar (supra) read thus:91. It has also been contended before us that even in dealing with cases which are properly before the Tribunals the manner in which justice is dispensed by them leaves much to be desired. Moreover the remedy provided in the parent statutes by way of an appeal by special leave under Article 136 of the Constitution is too costly and inaccessible for it to be real and effective. Furthermore the result of providing such a remedy is that the docket of the Supreme Court is crowded with decisions of Tribunals that are challenged on relatively trivial grounds and it is forced to perform the role of a first appellate court. We have already emphasised the necessity for ensuring that the High Courts are able to exercise judicial superintendence over the decisions of the Tribunals under Article 227 of the Constitution. In R.K. Jain case6 after taking note of these facts it was suggested that the possibility of an appeal from the Tribunal on questions of law to a Division Bench of a High Court within whose territorial jurisdiction the Tribunal falls be pursued. It appears that no follow-up action has been taken pursuant to the suggestion. Such a measure would have improved matters considerably. Having regard to both the aforestated contentions we hold that all decisions of Tribunals whether created pursuant to Article 323-A or Article 323-B of the Constitution will be subject to the High Court’s writ jurisdiction under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution before a Division Bench of the High Court within whose territorial jurisdiction the particular Tribunal falls.x x x x x x x93. Before moving on to other aspects we may summarise our conclusions on the jurisdictional powers of these Tribunals. The Tribunals are competent to hear matters where the vires of statutory provisions are questioned. However in discharging this duty they cannot act as substitutes for the High Courts and the Supreme Court which have under our constitutional set-up been specifically entrusted with such an obligation. Their function in this respect is only supplementary and all such decisions of the Tribunals will be subject to scrutiny before a Division Bench of the respective High Courts. The Tribunals will consequently also have the power to test the vires of subordinate legislations and rules. However this power of the Tribunals will be subject to one important exception. The Tribunals shall not entertain any question regarding the vires of their parent statutes following the settled principle that a Tribunal which is a creature of an Act cannot declare that very Act to be unconstitutional. In such cases alone the High Court concerned may be approached directly. All other decisions of these Tribunals rendered in cases that they are specifically empowered to adjudicate upon by virtue of their parent statutes will also be subject to scrutiny before a Division Bench of their respective High Courts. We may add that the Tribunals will however continue to act as the only courts of first instance in respect of the areas of law for which they have been constituted. By this we mean that it will not be open for litigants to directly approach the High Courts even in cases where they question the vires of statutory legislations (except as mentioned where the legislation which creates the particular Tribunal is challenged) by overlooking the jurisdiction of the Tribunal concerned.A close reading of the decision of the Apex Court in L.Chandrakumar (supra) in the backdrop of the decision of the Apex Court in R.K Jain (supra) w ould indicate beyond doubt that what was intended by the Apex Court in paragraph 93 of the judgement in L.Chandrakumar (supra) is that writ petitions preferred under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution challenging the orders passed by the Tribunals constituted under Articles 323A and 323B shall be entertained only by a Division Bench of the High Court. As noted above Article 323A of the Constitution deals with Administrative Tribunal for adjudication of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State or any local or other authority. Likewise Article 323B of the Constitution deals with Tribunals for resolution of disputes and complaints with respect to matters specified therein. Articles 323A and 323B of the Constitution read thus:323A. Administrative tribunals1) Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication or trial by administrative tribunals of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State or of any local or other authority within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India or of any corporation owned or controlled by the Government.(2) A law made under clause (1) may(a) provide for the establishment of an administrative tribunal for the Union and a separate administrative tribunal for each State or for two or more States;(b) specify the jurisdiction powers (including the power to punish for contempt) and authority which may be exercised by each of the said tribunals;(c) provide for the procedure (including provisions as to limitation and rules of evidence) to be followed by the said tribunals;(d) exclude the jurisdiction of a ll courts except the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under article 136 with respect to the disputes or complaints referred to in clause (1);(e) provide for the transfer to each such administrative tribunal of any cases pending before any court or other authority immediately before the establishment of such tribunal as would have been within the jurisdiction of such tribunal if the cause of action on which such suits or proceedings are based had arisen after such establishment;(f) repeal or amend any order made by the President under clause (3) of article 371 D;(g) contain such supplemental incidental and consequential provisions (including provisions as to fees) as Parliament may deem necessary for the effective functioning of and for the speedy disposal of cases by and the enforcement of the orders of such tribunals.(3) The provisions of this article shall have effect notwithstanding anything in any other provision of this constitution or in any other law for the time being in force.323B. Tribunals for other matters(1) The appropriate Legislature may by law provide for the adjudication or trial by tribunals of any disputes complaints or offences with respect to all or any of the matters specified in clause (2) with respect to which such Legislature has power to make laws.(2) The matters referred to in clause (1) are the following namely(a) levy assessment collection and enforcement of any tax(b) foreign exchange import and export across Customs frontiers(c) industrial and labour disputes(d) land reforms by way of acquisition by the State of any estate as defined in article 31A or of any rights therein or the extinguishment or modification of any such rights or by way of ceiling on agricultural land or in any other way(e) ceiling on urban property;(f) elections to either House of Parliament or the House or either House of the Legislature of a State but excluding the matters referred to in article 329 and article 329A(g) production procurement supply and distribution of foodstuffs (including edible oilseeds and oils) and such other goods as the President may by public notification declare to be essential goods for the purpose of this article and control of prices of such goods[(h) rent its regulation and control and tenancy issues including the right title and interest of landlords and tenants;][(i) offences against laws with respect to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to [(h)] and fees in respect of any of those matters[(j) any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in subclauses (a) to [(i)](3) A law made under clause (1) may(a) provide for the establishment of hierarchy of tribunals(b) specify the jurisdiction powers (including the power to punish for contempt) and authority which may be exercised by each of the said tribunals(c) provide for the procedure (including provisions as to limitation and rules of evidence) to be followed by the said tribunals (d) exclude the jurisdiction of all courts except the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under article 136 with respect to all or any of the matters falling within the jurisdiction of the said tribunals (e) provide for the transfer to each such tribunal of any cases pending before any court or any other authority immediately before the establishment of such tribunal as would have been within the jurisdiction of such tribunal if the causes of action on which such suits or proceedings are based had arisen after such establishment(f) contain such supplemental incidental and consequential provisions (including provisions as to fees) as the appropriate Legislature may deem necessary for the effective functioning of and for the speedy disposal of cases by and the enforcement of the orders of such tribunals.(4) The provisions of this article shall have effect notwithstanding anything in any other provision of this constitution or in any other law for the time being in force.Explanation. - In this article appropriate Legislature in relation to any matter means Parliament or as the case may be a State Legislature competent to make laws with respect to such matter in accordance with the provisions of Part XI.The National Green Tribunal is not a tribunal coming either under Article 323A or under Article 323B of the Constitution. The learned counsel for the applicant before the Tribunal has also not disputed the said fact. According to him all writ petitions challenging decisions of every Tribunal shall be dealt with by a Division Bench of this Court. I cannot agree. In the said circumstances I am of the view that the provision dealing with the powers of the Single Judges under the Kerala High Court Act would govern the field as far as the jurisdiction of the Single Judges is concerned. The applicant before the Green Tribunal has no case that a Single Judge of this Court cannot exercise the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. The contention that writ petitions of the instant nature can be entertained only by a Division Bench of this Court is thus rejected.10. Once it is found that this Court can entertain writ petitions against orders of the Green Tribunal in exercise of the power of judicial review and that the writ petitions preferred challenging the orders passed by the Green Tribunal are maintainable the question whether it is desirable for this Court to entertain a writ petition against a particular order of the Green Tribunal is a question to be considered in the light of the facts of each case. The rule that the power under Article 226 of the Constitution shall not be permitted to be invoked when the party has an effective alternate remedy is a rule of policy convenience and discretion rather than a rule of law. [See State of U.P v. Mohammad Nooh (AIR 1958 SC 86)]. It is settled that in cases where the orders impugned are passed violating the principles of natural justice or where vires of statutes are challenged or wh ere the orders are passed without jurisdiction this Court would normally exercise the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution not withstanding the alternate remedy available to the parties. But that does not mean that in all cases where orders are passed violating the principles of natural justice or where orders are passed without jurisdiction this Court shall exercise the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. In a case of the said nature the question whether the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is to be invoked is again a question to be examined on the facts of that case. With these principles in mind I must examine the question whether the writ petitions against the impugned order are to be entertained.11. True Section 22 of the Act permits appeals against orders of the Green Tribunal on any one or more of the grounds enumerated in Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure confers power on the High Court to entertain a second appeal against a decree passed by a subordinate court in an appeal if the High Court is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law. The substantial question of law contemplated under Section 100 of the Code is a substantial question of law involved in the final decision in a suit. As noted above the order impugned is an ad interim order passed by the Green Tribunal at the time of admission of the original application. The question whether an appeal would lie against an ad interim order in the nature of one in the instant case before the Apex Court under Section 22 of the Act is doubtful if not it is certainly a matter which could be debated upon. Assuming that there is no appeal against ad interim orders passed by the Green Tribunal before the Apex Court according to me this Court can certainly exercise the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution if circumstances warrant.12. As per the common order impugned in all these writ petitions the Green Tribunal directed that the State of Kerala shall not register any diesel vehicle with the capacity of 2000 CC and above except Public Transport and Local Authority Vehicle. The State Government was also directed that all diesel vehicles whether light or heavy which are more than ten years old shall not be permitted to ply on the road in the major cities like Thiruvananthapuram Kollam Kochi Thrissur Calicut and Kannur. There is also a direction in the said order that upon the expiry of 30 days from the date of order if any vehicle is found to be violating the said direction then it would be liable to pay Rs.5000/- per violation as environmental compensation. The order passed by the principal bench of the Green Tribunal in Vardhman Kaushik V. Union of India and the decision of the Apex Court in M.C.Mehta V. Union of India [(2016) 4 SCC 269] are also referred to in the impugned order. Among the writ petitions WP(C).No.19249 of 2016 is filed by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation WP(C). Nos.19255 of 2016 and 19267 of 2016 are filed by two organizations of private bus operators and some of the private state carriage operators in the State. WP(C).No.19067 of 2016 is filed by an association of the manufacturers of commercial auto mobile vehicles. It is the common case of the petitioners in all the writ petitions that in the light of Section 19(4)(i) of the Act an interim order of the instant nature cannot be passed by the Tribunal without notice to the affected parties. According to the petitioners thousands of people in the State are affected by the second part of the impugned order which prohibits use of diesel vehicles which are more than ten years old in the cities in Thiruvananthapuram Kollam Kochi Thrissur Calicut and Kannur. It is stated that no one was impleaded in the original application to represent the affected parties nor any one of them was heard before passing the impugned order. In other words according to the petitioners the impugned order was passed without jurisdiction and violating all principles of natural justice. The materials on record indicate that there is substance in the contention raised by the petitioners that the impugned orders are passed by the Green Tribunal without jurisdiction violating all principles of natural justice.13. The averments in WP(C).No.19249 of 2016 would indicate that out of the 6 349 buses owned by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation 1 102 buses are more than ten years old and therefore if the impugned order is given effect to the Corporation has to stop forthwith the schedules operated making use of the said vehicles. It is alleged by the petitioners in WP(C).No.19255 of 2016 that there are about 15 000 stage carriages in the State and more than 50% of the same are diesel vehicles of more than ten years old. It is also alleged by the petitioners in the said case that most of the vehicles which are transporting essential commodities vegetables etc. into the State from outside are diesel vehicles of more than ten years old and in the light of the impugned order the operators of the said vehicles have decided not to come to the State. Ext.P4 in the said case is a news item relied on by the petitioners to substantiate the said case. It is also alleged by the petitioners in the said case that substantial number of vehicles used as school buses in the State are more than ten years old. It is also alleged that the abrupt prohibition of the use of such vehicles would not only paralyse the public transport system in the State but also would take away the means of livelihood of the operators as also thousands of employees employed in such stage carriages. In short the case set up by the petitioners is that in the absence of adequate alternative arrangements for rendering the services that are being made making use of the diesel vehicles of more than 10 years old there will be utter chaos. The learned counsel for the applicant before the Green Tribunal has not disputed the consequence of the abrupt prohibition imposed against the use of diesel vehicles of more than ten years old in the six cities in the State as pointed out in the writ petitions referred to above. The only answer given by the learned counsel for the applicant before the Green Tribunal for all these arguments was that the environment has to be preserved at any cost and the impugned order has been passed towards that direction. Normally this Court would not entertain writ petitions against an ad interim order of the Tribunal and despite the far reaching adverse impact of the impugned order on the common man this Court would have certainly relegated the parties to move the Tribunal for variation of the order. But it is pointed out by the counsel for the parties that the Circuit Bench of the Green Tribunal will have its next sitting only during July 2016. As noted above the second part of the impugned order would take effect with effect from 23.6.2016. In T.K. Rangarajan v. Govt. of T.N. [(2003) 6 SCC 581] the Apex Court held that the High Court is empowered to exercise extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution to meet extraordinary situations. Paragraph 5 of the said judgment reads thus :5. At the outset it is to be reiterated that under Article 226 of the Constitution the High Court is empowered to exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction to meet unprecedented extraordinary situation having no parallel. It is equally true that extraordinary powers are required to be sparingly used. The facts of the present case reveal that this was most extraordinary case whichcalled for interference by the High Court as the State Government had dismissed about two lakh employees for going on strike.On an appraisal of the facts and circumstances of the case I am of the view that these writ petitions certainly make out an extraordinary situation though not as grave as projected by the petitioners warranting interference of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.14. Coming to the merits it is seen that the impugned order was passed by the Circuit Bench of the Green Tribunal at Kochi at the time of admission of the Original Application. The Original Application before the Green Tribunal which is part of the records in the writ petitions indicates that the applicant in the original application never sought such a relief. Of course the learned counsel for the applicant before the Green Tribunal has contended that an oral request was made by the counsel for the applicant for such an order at the time of admission and the Green Tribunal passed the impugned order at their instance. Be that as it may there is nothing on record to indicate that such a prayer was sought in the Original Application. The case set up by the petitioners in WP(C). No.19267 of 2016 is that Section 72(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 gives authority to the Regional Transport Authority constituted under the said Act to impose restrictions as to the use of vehicles and in exercise of the said power the Regional Transport Authorities in the State have prohibited use of diesel vehicles of more than fifteen years old for stage carriage services. It was pointed out that this Court in O.P.No.29922 of 2000 and connected cases held that even such restrictions can be enforced only after two years from the date of publication of such restrictions as provided for under the proviso to clause (x) to Section 72(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act. In other words according to the petitioners in the said case the impugned order would run counter to the provisions contained the Motor Vehicles Act. The learned counsel for the petitioners in the said writ petition has also brought to my notice the decision of the Apex Court in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India and others (AIR 1998 SC 2963) in which the Apex Court having regard to the depleted air quality levels in the National Capital prohibited use of diesel vehicles of more than fifteen years old in the National Capital. It was pointed out by the learned counsel that even in the said case the Apex Court granted reasonable time to the operators to substitute their vehicles. As such according the learned counsel the impugned order which runs counter to the scheme of the Motor Vehicles Act is unsustainable in law. Further the impugned order refers to the decision of the principal bench of the Green Tribunal in Vardhman Kaushik V. Union of India and the decision of the Apex Court in M.C.Mehta V. Union of India [(2016) 4 SCC 269]. The copies of the said decisions were made available to me at the time of admission. The said judgments indicate that the same pertain to the measures to be taken in the National Capital Region of Delhi which earned the dubious reputation of being the most polluted city in the world. A perusal of the said decisions also indicates that the said decisions were rendered having regard to the pollution levels in the National Capital Region of Delhi. Relying on the National Air Quality Index published by the Central Pollution Control Board the petitioners contended that the air quality level in the State is far superior compared to the air quality level in the National Capital Region of Delhi. It was conceded by the learned counsel for the applicant before the Green Tribunal that no data was av ailable before the Tribunal as to the air quality level prevalent in the six cities referred to in the impugned order. In the circumstances I am of the view that the petitioners have made out a strong prima facie case in these writ petitions.The writ petitions are therefore admitted. Issue notice. For the reasons stated in the foregoing paragraphs I also deem it appropriate to stay the operation of the impugned order of the Green Tribunal dated 23.5.2016 as prayed for by the petitioners. Ordered accordingly. The applicant before the Green Tribunal is free to bring up the writ petitions for final hearing after filing counter affidavits. Hand over.