Adarsh Kumar Goel

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Adarsh Kumar Goel
Hon'ble Mr. Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.png
Judge of the Supreme Court of India
In office
7 July 2014 – 6 July 2018
Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal
Personal details
Born (1953-07-07) 7 July 1953 (age 66)
Alma materPanjab University

Adarsh Kumar Goel (born 7 July 1953) at Hisar, Haryana is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He is a former Chief Justice of the Odisha High Court and the Gauhati High Court, and a former justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He is currently serving as the Chairperson of National Green Tribunal.[1]


Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel did his B.A. (Hons.) and LL.B. from Panjab University. He was enrolled as an Advocate with the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana on 16 July 1974. He practised before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana for about five years and before the Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court for about 22 years. He was designated as Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court on 11 February 1999. He was elevated as Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 2 July 2001. Justice Goel was appointed as Executive Chairman, Haryana State Legal Services Authority on 17 May 2005. He was the Chief Justice (Acting) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court from 2 May 2011 till he joined as the Senior most Judge of the Gauhati High Court on 12 September 2011. Thereafter, he was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court on 20 December 2011. He was then sworn in as Chief Justice of the Odisha High Court on 12 October 2013. Justice Goel was elevated as Judge of Supreme Court and assumed charge on 7 July 2014. Thereafter, he was appointed as the Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal, New Delhi.

Notable Judgments[edit]

In Pradyuman Bisht vs. Union of India & Ors. case of installation of CCTV cameras in Courts, Tribunals, the Bench headed by Justice Goel and Justice Lalit held that by installation of CCTV cameras the objective of transparent judicial system can be achieved.

Justice Goel initiated the idea of usage of technology in matrimonial dispute. In Krishna Veni Nigam vs. Harish Nigam, the Bench was of the opinion that, “tools like video conferencing should be used in matrimonial cases where the place of adjudication is not convenient to either of the parties.” The Bench further said that, "it may be appropriate that available technology of video conferencing is used where both the parties have equal difficulty and there is no place which is convenient to both the parties."

Justice Goel’s judgment on prevention of misuse of SC/ST Act in Dr. Shubhash Kashinath Mahajan vs. The State of Maharashtra, is one of the much talked about decision. Justice Goel along with Justice Lalit examined the question on the inclusion of procedural safeguards so that the provisions of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) (SC/ST) Act 1989 are not abused for extraneous considerations. The Bench held that, a Government official cannot be prosecuted on mere allegation of committing an offence under the Act without the sanction of appointing authority.

Thereafter, to cut down the backlog of cases, Justice Goel had given a specific deadline for dealing with cases of bail application and two years time for disposing of cases dealing with serious crime. The Bench in Krishnakant Tamrakar vs. The State of M.P. asked “all high courts to issue directions to subordinate courts that all bail applications should normally be disposed of by judicial officers within one week. Magisterial trials, where accused are in custody, be normally concluded within six months and sessions trials where accused are in custody be normally concluded within two years.

Justice Goel in the judgment in Rajesh Sharma & Ors. vs. State of U.P. & Anr., also set forth new guidelines to prevent misuse of S.498A of IPC. While giving the guidelines, he observed that, “It is a matter of serious concern that large number of cases continues to be filed under Section 498A alleging harassment of married women. To remedy the situation, we are of the view that involvement of civil society in the aid of administration of justice can be one of the steps, apart from the investigating officers and the concerned trial courts being sensitized. It is also necessary to facilitate closure of proceedings where a genuine settlement has been reached instead of parties being required to move High Court only for that purpose”.

With a view to achieve a progressive step, Justice Goel in his judgment in Amardeep Singh vs. Harveen Kaur ., held that, “the 6 months waiting period prescribed under Section 13B(2) of Hindu Marriage Act for divorce by mutual consent is not mandatory, and can be waived under certain circumstances.

Further, in B.Sunitha vs. The State of State of Telangana he also gave his opinion and asked the government to take cognizance on the issue of introducing requisite legislative changes for a regulatory mechanism to check violation of professional ethics by Lawyers.

Controversy Related to Appointment[edit]

The entry of RSS into the judiciary can be traced through the example of AK Goel's appointment as a judge in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in 2001 inspite of the IB report on his background characterized him as a "corrupt person". The law ministry under Jaitley approved the nomination irrespective of this report. When the president KR Narayanan, refused to sign Goel’s appointment warrant, it was resent with the PM's signature for reconsideration. Shortly after Modi became the prime minister, Goel was appointed to the Supreme Court and right before retirement, he diluted the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. At the same time when Goel was appointed to the Supreme Court, the government blocked the appointment of Gopal Subramanium, a former solicitor general who was involved in Amit Shah's trial.[2]

Justice Goel as Chairperson of National Green Tribunal[edit]

Justice A. K. Goel was appointed as the Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal on 06.07.2018. Initially when he was appointed there were huge backlogs of cases that were pending not only with the Principal Bench but also with other Zonal Benches. Since his appointment, Justice Goel has made all Benches functional by hearing matters through Video Conferencing from Bhopal, Chennai, Kolkata and Pune Bench.

Significant rulings at NGT[edit]

Water pollution[edit]

In M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India & Ors., the Bench while dealing with the issue of Ganga pollution, directed CPCB and UPPCB to regularly display test report of the sample water at various locations.

In Manoj Mishra vs. Union of India, the Bench headed by Justice Goel constituted a new Committee on account of the failure by the authorities in taking appropriate steps in abating pollution in River Yamuna.

Further, in News Item Published In ‘The Hindu’ Authored By Shri. Jacob Koshy titled “More River Stretches Are Now Critically Polluted: CPCB”, the Bench headed by Justice Goel directed all States and UTs to prepare Action plan.

In Stench Grips Mansa’s Sacred Ghaggar River (Suo-Motu Case) And Yogender Kumar, which dealt with pollution in River Ghaggar, the Tribunal directed the Chief Secretaries of the States of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and also the Administrator of UT Chandigarh to constitute Special Task Force (STFs) consisting of District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police, Regional Officer of the State Pollution Control Boards in concerned District and one person to be nominated by the District Judge in every District in his capacity of Head of the District Legal Services Authority. The STF may identify persons responsible for violation of law so that action can be taken.

In Meera Shukla vs. Municipal Corporation, Gorakhpur &Ors. which dealt with the pollution of river Ami, Rapti and Rohaniin Gorakhpur district, the Tribunal in its order dated 25.10.2018 held that letters alleging pollution should be sent to UPPCB so that such steps as may be found necessary are taken without any delay in accordance with law and the report submitted to this Tribunal.

While dealing with the issue of pollution in Sutlej and Beas in Sobha Singh vs. State of Punjab &Ors. the Tribunal on the basis of “Polluter Pays” principle, imposed a cost of Rs. 50 crores on the State of Punjab.

Air pollution[edit]

Taking Cognizance of News Item Published In ‘The Times of India’ authored by Shri. Vishwa Mohan titled “NCAP with Multiple Timelines to Clear Air in 102 Cities to be released around August 15”, the Bench directed all the States and Union Territories with non-attainment cities to prepare appropriate action plans which would aimed at bringing the standards of air quality within the prescribed norms.

The Bench headed by Justice Goel again took cognizance of News item published in “The Asian Age” Authored by Sanjay Kaw Titled “CPCB to rank industrial units on pollution levels” and directed SPCBs/ Committees to finalize time bound action plans with regard to identified polluted industrial clusters in accordance with the revised norms laid down by CPCB to restore environmental qualities within norms. The SPCBs/Committees and CPCB to take coercive measures including recovery of compensation for the damage to the environment on ‘Polluter Pays’ principle as well as also to direct taking of such precautionary measures as may be necessary on the basis of ‘Precautionary Principle.’

Dealing with the issue of crop burning in the State of Punjab, Haryana, UP and NCT of Delhi in Smt. Ganga Lalwani vs. Union of India & Ors., the Tribunal directed denial of benefit of MSP (Minimum Support Price) to those who continue to burn the crop residue.

To curb with the issue of illegal operation of steel pickling industries and the inaction on the part of the Delhi Govt, the Bench headed by Justice Goel All India Lokadhikar vs. Govt. of NCT Delhi and Ors. imposed a fine of Rs. 50 crores for its failure in regulating this industries.

In Mayank Manohar vs. Govt. of NCT of Delhi and Ors., which dealt with the closure of unauthorized industrial units which are operating in residential areas of Delhi, a fresh oversight Committee has been constituted.

Municipal solid waste[edit]

For proper management and compliance of MSW Rules, 2016 the Bench vide order dated 20.09.2018 found out that there are deficiencies in proper management of solid waste and was of the opinion that there should be review mechanism for dealing with the issues. Apex and Regional Committee were set up. Further, considering the issue on 16.01.2019 the Bench directed States to display on their respective websites and the websites of the Pollution Control Boards/Committees the progress made on each issues of MSW.

In Suo Motu proceedings initiated based on the representation received from Justice R. Bhaskaran Former Judge Versus State of Kerala and Ors., the issue of cleaning up of the Periyar River was taken up on account The Tribunal constituted a Joint Committee of CPCB, Kerala SPCB and District Magistrate to forthwith prepare an action plan for compliance of law particularly the biomedical waste and solid waste management Rules and furnish an action taken report.

Illegal sand mining[edit]

Taking up the issue of illegal sand mining during monsoon in River Sone and Ganga at Koelbar and Patna in Bihar, the Tribunal in Amarshakti vs. State of Bihar and Ors. directed in the Secretary, Mines and Mineral, Bihar to constitute a team composed of officers of Mines and Mineral Department and District Magistrate and the SSP Patna to look into the allegations and take action as found necessary.

In Sudarsan Das vs. State of West Bengal and Ors., the Tribunal observed that there is need to setting up of a dedicated monitoring mechanism to regulate illegal sand mining. The matter dealt with sand mining on the banks of river Subarnarekha.

Noise pollution[edit]

In Hardeep Singh & Ors. Vs. SDMC & Ors the Bench asked authorities to comply with the directions of the Supreme Court. It also directed the authorities to set up a public redressal system and to submit a quarterly action taken report of the same.

Rat hole mining in Meghalaya[edit]

While dealing with issue of Rat Hole Mining in Meghalaya, in Threat to life arising out of coal mining in South Garo Hills district vs. State of Meghalaya & Ors., O.A. No. 110, the Tribunal asked the Expert Committee to expedite the process of identifying the victims of rat hole mining in Meghalaya since 2012.


While considering the issue of contamination of water bodies at Bengaluru, the Tribunal in Court on its own Motion vs. State of Karnataka, directed removal encroachments from catchment areas must be removed, preparation of action plan be prepared by the State/BBMP and also directed State of Karnataka will transfer an amount of Rs. 500 crores in an Escrow Account for execution of the action plan. [3]


  1. ^ "Justice AK Goel Takes Over As National Green Tribunal Chairperson". Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  2. ^ Dev, Atul. "What the Indian judiciary has done to itself". The Caravan. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  3. ^[permanent dead link]