The decision to shift the jurisdiction of the NGT court for Goa-related cases to Delhi from Pune was taken on the state government's recommendation, said Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday.
"Pune is not convenient for us as, if a lawyer has to be sent to represent any case, it takes three days... Delhi has excellent connectivity (with Goa)," Parrikar told reporters defending the decision of Union Ministry for Environment Forests and Climate Change.
He also said that the state government did not have a legal set-up in Pune as against Delhi, where the government has empanelled lawyers.
Days after the notification was issued, the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on August 22 stayed the transfer of Goa-related NGT cases to Delhi jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal, while also issuing notices to the state and central government.
The August 10 notification had shifted Goa from the Western zone jurisdiction of the NGT to the Northern zone, while retaining Gujarat and Maharashtra, both located north of Goa, in the Western zone.
Both green activists as well as the Opposition had dubbed the relocation as harassment to petitioners, because while Pune is about 470 km from Goa, the distance between Goa and Delhi is nearly 2,000 km.
"This is meant to discourage petitioners from approaching the NGT. This is a really draconian move by the government which has been prompted by vested interests," Congress spokesperson Girish Chodankar had said.