The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change of India to file an action taken report over the illegal cutting of trees in Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand.

A three-member bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice Sudhir Agarwal, and A Senthil Vel heard a suo motu case after The Hindu published a news story about 6,000 trees felled illegally for a tiger safari project.

A three-member investigative committee of NGT found that besides tree felling there were other violations as well. “Works were started without Stage II approval under Forest Conservation Act 1980.”

The act gives clearance for diversion of forestland in two stages.

Disagreeing with the contention of the Principal Secretary of Uttarakhand Forest Department that the panel should have focused on illegal tree-cutting practices, the tribunal asked for an action taken report before the next hearing on July 19.

SC ruling could cost Suzlon ₹22 crore

In a case that goes back two decades, the Supreme Court has ruled against Suzlon in its dispute with the Commissioner of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax. Suzlon, the wind turbine manufacturer, imports ‘engineering designs and drawings’ from its sister company in Germany. Customs calls these ‘goods’ but Suzlon claimed ‘nil’ duty. Since Customs categorised them as ‘goods’, Suzlon refused to pay a service tax.

N Venkataraman, Additional Solicitor General of India, successfully argued that “merely because the intellectual property put in a media, it would not per se make them goods. It would depend on whether the contracting parties have understood it as a transfer or a sale of goods”.

Justice MR Shah was convinced that “as per the settled position of law now, the same activity can be taxed as ‘goods’ and ‘services’ provided the contract is indivisible and on the aspect of services there may be levy of service tax.. Neither any custom duty was paid due to exemption from payment of duty treating it as ‘paper’ nor the service tax was paid”. This judgement could set Suzlon back by about ₹22 crore.