How The Finance Act 2017 Cripples National Green Tribunal(NGT)

Background

In 2010, the Parliament enacted the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act and the National Green Tribunal started functioning from 2011. Over the last 6 years, the National Green Tribunal has emerged, without doubt, as the most effective environmental court in the world. With hundreds of cases heard and decisions rendered, India’s citizens have for the first time an institution which is independent, responsive, compassionate and able to deal, to some extent, with the environmental crisis facing the nation.

The NGT was set up as a part of India’s commitment under the Rio Declaration.[1] In addition, it was to guarantee the legal right to environment which is a part of the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution.  The Supreme Court in a number of decisions had emphasised on the need to have an independent judicial body comprising of judges and experts to deal with complex environmental cases. The Law Commission of India in its 186th report recommended for the setting up of environmental courts in India.

Since the last three years there have been concerted efforts to dilute the provisions of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. The High Level Committee to Review Environmental Law (also called as the T.S.R Subramanian Committee), recommended for curtailing the powers of the National Green Tribunal as well as several critical dilution in various environmental laws existing in the country. The Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment and Forest however recommended for the rejection of the Committees report on the ground that it would seriously compromise on the various environmental laws.[2]

Knowing very well, that amending the provisions of the National Green Tribunal would be controversial and would meet with serious opposition and public outcry, the Central Government, through the Finance Act, 2017, by a seemingly innocuous but very insidious amendment, has altered the very foundation of the National Green Tribunal. Section 182 of the Finance Act inserted the following provision in the NGT Act:

“10A. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of the Chairperson, Judicial Member and Expert Member of the Tribunal appointed after the commencement of Part XIV of Chapter VI of the Finance Act, 2017, shall be governed by the provisions of section 184 of that Act:

Provided that the Chairperson, Judicial Member and Expert Member appointed before the commencement of Part XIV of Chapter VI of the Finance Act, 2017, shall continue to be governed by the provisions of this Act, and the rules made there under as if the provisions of section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 had not come into force.”

Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 specifically provides:

“184 (1) The Central Government may, by notification, make rules to provide for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and the other terms and conditions of service of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Chairman, Vice-Chairman, President, Vice-President, Presiding Officer or Member of the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal or, as the case may be, other Authorities as specified in column (2) of the Eighth Schedule”

It is pertinent to point out that the NGT Act itself prescribes the qualification, appointment and the terms of office of the members of the National Green Tribunal. However, as a result of Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017, these subjects are no longer to be decided by Parliament but by the executive through a Notification. Thus, from a statutory provision NGT has become a part of delegated legislation.

The New Rules

The full import and implications of this amendment has become clear with the Notification of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance issued on 1st of June, 2017. The Rules are called The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experiences and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017 (“New Rules”).

HOW THE NEW RULES IMPACT THE INDEPENDENCE AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL:

  1. Qualification of Chairperson: The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 mandates that the Chairperson should be either a Judge of the Supreme Court or has been a judge of the Supreme Court or is or has been Chief Justice of a High Court.[3] Thus, to be a Chairperson of the NGT, the person should have been a Judge of either the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of the High Court. This is in view of the fact that it is the apex environmental tribunal and appeals against the Judgments of the NGT are to be preferred before the Supreme Court. The idea is also that the Chairperson would be a person who has years of practical experience in rendering judgment and dealing with disputes at a very high level. In addition, the Chairperson would be able to provide the needed Status and leadership to this institution based on his/her previous experience.

The New Rules however does away with this requirement by stipulating that to be Chairperson of NGT, following are the qualifications:[4]

  • is, or has been, or is qualified to be, a Judge of Supreme Court; or
  • is, or has been, Chief Justice of a High Court; or
  • has, for a period of not less than three years, held office as Judicial Member or Expert Member; or
  • is a person of ability, integrity and standing, and having special knowledge of, and professional experience of not less than twenty-five years in law including five years’ practical experience in the field of environment and forests.

The new qualifications have serious consequences on the quality of leadership as well as independence of the National Green Tribunal.

(a) The Chairperson need not be a Judge of either the Supreme Court or High Court:   As per the New Rules, a person who is ‘qualified’ to be Judge of the Supreme Court may be appointed as Chairperson. Article 124 of the Constitution provides that any advocate who has practiced for a minimum of 10 years before the High Court is qualified to be a Judge of the Supreme Court. Besides, any Judge who has served for a minimum of five years is qualified to be the Chairperson of the NGT.  Thus under the new notification, a lawyer with no experience in heading  or being part of a Judicial Institution  can be made the chairperson of the NGT as also a High court Judge. It needs to be pointed out that the Chairperson is also the administrative head of the Institution and is responsible for dealing with administrative matters on a day to day basis. That is why Parliament in its wisdom in 2010 had stipulated that the institution should be headed at the very least by a person who is or has been a Chief Justice of the High Court.

(b) The Chairperson need not have a legal background: The National Green Tribunal is a Judicial Institution and has all the trappings of the Court. It applies principles and Codes, including all the powers of the Civil Court with respect to matters which come before it. However, the new Notification provides that an ‘Expert Member’ who has served for not less than three years is qualified to be Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal. At present, the bulk of Expert members are retired bureaucrats: Indian Forest Service and Indian Administrative Service. Thus, a situation will be created where the apex judicial institution will be headed by a person who has no legal background and training. It is therefore possible for a Retired IAS or IFS Officer to now become the Chairperson of the NGT. Commenting on the suitability of Administrators as adjudicators, the Supreme Court in Union of India (UOI) Vs. R. Gandhi, President, Madras Bar Association AND Madras Bar Association Vs. Union of India (UOI)[5] has held:

“47. A lifetime of experience in administration may make a member of the civil services a good and able administrator, but not a necessarily good, able and impartial adjudicator with a judicial temperament capable of rendering decisions which have to (i) inform the parties about the reasons for the decision; (ii) demonstrate fairness and correctness of the decision and absence of arbitrariness; and (iii) ensure that justice is not only done, but also seem to be done.”

(c) Too wide and vague category: A person with only five years of professional experience in environment is now qualified to be appointed as member of the National Green Tribunal provided the person has 25 years of professional experience in law. The word ‘professional experience’ does not require practice as a lawyer or does not necessarily make them technically qualified to become Chairperson of the Tribunal. In Union of India Vs R. Gandhi[6], the Supreme Court held:

“……the fact that senior officers of civil services could function as Administrative Members of Administrative Tribunals, does not necessarily make them suitable to function as Technical Members in Company Law Tribunals or other Tribunals requiring technical expertise.”

  1. Qualifications of the Judicial Member: As per the NGT Act, 2010 prior to its amendment, to qualify as a Judicial member, a person should be either the following:[7]
  • is, or has been judge of the Supreme Court of India, or
  • Judge of a High Court, or
  • Chief Justice of a High Court

The main intention behind this high qualification is that the Judicial Members are also the heads of the various zonal benches of the National Green Tribunal and the zonal benches are not subordinate to the Principle Bench in Judicial matters. Thus, judicial members are required to be persons who have qualifications similar to Chairperson of the Tribunal. However, the New Rules stipulates the following as qualification of a judicial member:[8]

  • is, or has been, or is qualified to be, a Judge of a High Court; or
  • has, for at least ten years, held a judicial office in the territory of India.

The concerns with respect to the new qualifications are:

  1. Drastic reduction in the Qualification: An Advocate with 10 years practice is qualified to be a High Court Judge. Thus, there will be no requirement to be either a Supreme Court Judge or High Court Judge or a Chief Justice to be a Judicial Member of the NGT.
  2. Even a Judicial Magistrate at a Sub Division level can be appointed as judicial member and even the Chairperson: The new Notification states that a person who has held a judicial office of not less than ten years is qualified. Judicial Office is a wide term and can include all Districts and Sub ordinate courts as well as appellate bodies under various departments. Thus a precarious situation will be created where a person who has manned say only a Transport Tribunal is appointed as Judicial Member of the Tribunal and may ultimately become the Chairperson of the Tribunal.
  3. Qualification of Expert Member: the New Rules have severely diluted the qualifications of the Expert Member which is fundamentally going to affect the functioning of the Expert Tribunal. The whole purpose of setting up a specialised environmental court is to render specialised judicial decisions based on both law and science. This is going to be seriously compromised in view of the changes in the qualification under the New Rules. Under the NGT Act, 2010, the following qualification has been prescribed:[9]

..has a degree in Master of Science (physical sciences or life sciences) with a Doctorate degree or Master of Engineering or Master of Technology and has an experience of fifteen years in the relevant field including five years’ practical experience in the field of environment and forests (including pollution control, hazardous substance management, environment impact assessment, climate change management, biological diversity management and forest conservation) in a reputed National level institution;

Under the New Rules, the following is the qualification:[10]

  • has a degree/ Post graduation degree/ Doctorate Degree in Science and has an experience of twenty years in the relevant field including five years’ practical experience in the field of environment and forests (including pollution control, hazardous substance management, environment impact assessment, climate change management, biological diversity management and forest conservation) in a reputed National level institution;

Thus, the Doctorate with masters in Science is now reduced to only a Degree in Science with only five years of experience in the field of environment.

The concern with respect to dilution in qualifications of members of all Tribunals has been a cause concern for the Supreme Court.  In Union of India Versus R. Gandhi[11], the Supreme Court while commenting on this aspect observed:

            “The speed at which the qualifications for appointment as Members are   being diluted is, to say the least, a matter of great concern for the        independence of the Judiciary.”

 COMPOSITION OF THE SEARCH AND SELECTION COMMITTEE

The New Rules have made fundamental changes in the search and selection Committee, the sole aim of which is to ensure greater bureaucratic control over the selection of the members of the Tribunal. Under the NGT (Manner of Appointment of Judicial and Expert Members, Salaries, Allowances and other Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and other Members and Procedure for Inquiry) Rules, 2010, the Expert Members are to be selected by a Selection Committee headed by a Sitting Judge of the Supreme Court to be appointed by the Chief Justice of India and also comprises of the Chairperson of the Tribunal as member in addition to experts on Environment and Forest Policy.[12] On behalf of the Government, only the Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest is the Member. Under the New Rules, the Selection Committee headed by the Sitting Judge of the Supreme Court has been done away with. It will now be headed by ‘a person to be nominated by the Central Government’. The New Rule does not stipulate any qualification for the said ‘person’. The Chairperson of the Tribunal is no longer the member and is replaced by two Secretaries of the Government of India, which includes the Secretary, MoEF. In effect, there will be no judicial oversight in the selection of the Expert members, as it exists at present. The whole amendment is regressive and seriously affects the independence of the Judiciary. The predominance of the Secretaries of the Government in selection Committee has serious consequences for the independence of the Judiciary. The NGT serves as the Appellate body against decisions taken by Secretaries of the Government among others. It is very unlikely, they will choose persons who are likely to overrule their decisions or take strict action with respect to the conduct of Government officials. The fact that having Secretaries of the Government dominating selection committee affects the independence of the Tribunal, was commented by the Supreme Court in R. Gandhi’s case[13]:

         “But in India, unfortunately Tribunals have not achieved full independence. The  ecretary of the concerned `sponsoring department’ sits in the Selection        Committee for appointment”

By ensuring that the Selection of Expert Members is done by Bureaucrats, the Government has ensured full executive control over the selection of expert members.

 TERM OF OFFICE

The term of office of a member which is 5 years[14] under the existing NGT Act, 2010 is reduced to 3 years[15] under the new notification. There is bound to be serious implication of this change. Given the fact that most judicial members have no specialised prior knowledge on environmental issues, and it takes time to gain expertise on complex environmental issues, the reduced tenure is bound to impact the quality of judicial decision. In addition, it takes considerable time to decide on cases. Bulk of existing Appeals and Applications are never decided within the stipulated 6 months and takes years. It is not unusual for Appeals to take an average of 4 years for final judgment to come. In such a situation, to reduce the term of office from 5 to 3 years is bound to affect the functioning of tribunal.

In addition, to the above issue, the very short term of office is unlikely to lead to many qualified people to apply for selection as members of NGT. Even under the present law, the 5 years terms is a disincentive for younger people applying for becoming an NGT member.

In such a situation, the NGT will only attract retired officers to apply for appointment. This does not augur well for a new and robust institution which requires members to be updated on the latest developments in science and technological issues related to environment.

The Supreme Court in Union of India Vs R. Gandhi[16] and later referred in Mardas Bar Association Versus Union of India[17] , directed the Central Government to increase the term of members of the Company Law Appellate Board from 3 years to 7 years on the following ground:

(ix) The term of office of three years shall be changed to a term of seven or five years subject to eligibility for appointment for one more term. This is because considerable time is required to achieve expertise in the concerned field. A term of three years is very short and by the time the members achieve the required knowledge, expertise and efficiency, one term will be over. Further the said term of three years with the retirement age of 65 years is perceived as having been tailor-made for persons who have retired or shortly to retire and encourages these  Tribunals to be treated as post-retirement havens. If these Tribunals are to function effectively and efficiently they should be able to attract younger members who will have a reasonable period of service.

This logic applies also to the National Green Tribunal.

SALARY AND ALLOWANCES

The New Rule lowers the status of the members of the National Green Tribunal, specially the Judicial Members. As per the existing NGT (Manner of Appointment of Judicial and Expert Members, Salaries, Allowances and other Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and other Members and Procedure for Inquiry) Rules, 2010, the Chairperson shall be entitled to a monthly salary and to such allowances as are admissible to a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.[18]  The Judicial Member shall be entitled to a monthly salary and to such allowances as are admissible to a sitting judge of the High Court. However, under the New Rule, the Chairperson shall be paid a salary of Rs. 2,50,000 (fixed) and other allowances and benefits as are admissible to a Central Government officer holding posts carrying the same pay. It is important to highlight the word ‘central government officer’.[19] The only officer who gets this salary under the Central Government is the Cabinet Secretary. The Chairperson who is presently given the rank, status, pay and allowances of the serving Judge of the Supreme Court will be now equated with that of the Cabinet Secretary which is lower than a Judge of the Supreme Court in every aspect

Similarly, the Judicial Members will also be given the allowances of a Group A posts of the Central Government. It is pertinent to point out that Group A posts are based on executive and administrative responsibilities of officers. The capacity required in the NGT is judicial in nature.

COMPLETE CONTROL OF THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE OVER THE MEMBERS OF THE TRIBUNAL

As per the original National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, the NGT has complete functional autonomy in so far as its relationship with the Government or the Ministry of Environment and Forest is concerned. The NGT in J. Wilfred versus Union of India[20] observed:

            “There is nothing in the provisions of the NGT Act that directly or even by necessary implication is indicative of any external control over the National Green Tribunal in discharge of its judicial functions. MoEF is merely an administrative Ministry for the National Green Tribunal to provide for means and finances. Once budget is provided, the Ministry cannot have any interference in the functioning of the National Green Tribunal. Entire process of appointment and even removal is under the effective control of the Supreme Court of India, as neither 31 appointments nor removal can be effected without the participation and approval of a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India. The administration is merely an executing agency within the framework of the Act.”

            This situation is now to change with the New Rules issued by the Ministry of Finance. In New Rules there is clear mention of the fact that the Tribunals are ‘Under” the Ministry.

            PROCEDURE FOR INQUIRY

            One of the most blatant instances of executive control over the Tribunal is evident from Rule 8 which provides for the procedure for inquiry into misbehaviour and incapacity of the members of the Tribunal. Under the existing law, any Removal can be done by the President only after an Inquiry by a Sitting Judge of the Supreme Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India.[21] The New Rules however does away with this safeguard by stipulating as follows:[22]

8. Procedure for inquiry of misbehavior or incapacity of the Member.—

(1) If a written complaint is received by the Central Government, alleging any definite charge of misbehavior or incapacity to perform the functions of the office in respect of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, President, Vice-President, Presiding Officer, Accountant Member, Administrative Member, Judicial Member, Expert Member, Law Member, Revenue Member, Technical Member or Member, the Ministry or Department of the Government of India under which the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal or, as the case may be, Authority is constituted or established, shall make a preliminary scrutiny of such complaint.

(2) If on preliminary scrutiny, the Ministry or Department of the Government of India under which the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal or, as the case may be, Authority is constituted or established, is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for making an inquiry into the truth of any misbehavior or incapacity of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, President, Vice-President, Presiding Officer, Accountant Member, Administrative Member, Judicial Member, Expert Member, Law Member, Revenue Member, Technical Member or Member, it shall make a reference to the Committee constituted under rule 7 to conduct the inquiry.

(3) The Committee shall complete the inquiry within such time or such further time as may be specified by the Central Government.

(4) After the conclusion of the inquiry, the Committee shall submit its report to the Central Government stating therein its findings and the reasons there for on each of the charges separately with such observations on the whole case as it may think fit.

(5) The Committee shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and shall have power to regulate its own procedure, including the fixing of date, place and time of its inquiry.”

            It is clearly stated that the preliminary inquiry will be done by the Ministry or Department ‘under’ which the Authority is constituted or established. The legal position is that Tribunals are established under a statutory law and is not ‘under’ a Ministry or Department. Yet, the Rules clearly places the Tribunal in a subordinate position vis a vis the Ministry and Department. Thus, an officer of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change will conduct the inquiry and submit a Report to a Committee of the Central Government constituted under Rule 7. Interestingly Rule 7 does not provide any details as to who are the members of the Committee are.  Rule 7 empowers the Central Government to remove the members of the Tribunal on the Recommendation of the Committee.

            Under the existing law, the rule empowers the Central Government in consultation with the chief justice of India to remove a chairperson or judicial member of the Tribunal.[23]

            Strangely, it is only with respect to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal that the Rules mandate that prior consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is required before removal of any member or chairperson of the Tribunal.

            SANCTION OF LEAVE

            The MOEF control over the NGT in the new Rules is clear when one examines the Rules with respect to sanctioning authority for leave. Rule 14 states that the Sanctioning authority for the leave of the chairperson will be the Central Government. Thus, the very Ministry whose decisions are appealed before the Tribunal will decide on the request for leave.

            Prior to the amendment, the President of India was the leave sanctioning authority for the Chairperson of the NGT.[24]

            CONCLUSION

The Finance Act, 2017 and the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experiences and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017 are bound to render the National Green Tribunal as an ineffective Tribunal for adjudicating over environmental disputes and protecting the Constitutional Right to a clean, healthy and pollution free environment under Article 21 of the Constitution.  The National Green Tribunal cannot and should not be equated with Tribunals and Appellate bodies constituted under other laws for the reason that NGT is set up pursuant to India’s obligations under International Environmental Conventions to which India is a signatory. Most significantly the Rules, fundamentally affects the Independence, authority and capacity of the NGT to adjudicate on environmental issues. Once the new Rules are implemented, the NGT will be manned by people who neither are qualified nor possess the experience, training, vision and outlook to deal with complex environmental problems. In addition to the above handicap, the members of the NGT will not have the administrative as well as functional autonomy and will be ‘under’ the control of the very Ministry whose decisions they are required to adjudicate upon. Public confidence is bound to be low on such an Institution.

            The New Rules are against the basic structure of Constitution. Independence of Judiciary has always been recognized as a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.[25] The Supreme Court has highlighted that “Independent judicial tribunals for determination of the rights of citizens, and for adjudication of the disputes and complaints of the citizens, is a necessary concomitant of the Rule of Law. Rule of Law has several facets, one of which is that disputes of citizens will be decided by Judges who are independent and impartial; and that disputes as to legality of acts of the Government will be decided by Judges who are independent of the Executive. Another facet of Rule of Law is equality before law. The essence of equality is that it must be capable of being enforced and adjudicated by an independent judicial forum. Judicial independence and separation of judicial power from the Executive are part of the common law traditions implicit in a Constitution like ours which is based on the Westminster model”.[26]

In the case of R.K. Jain v. Union of India[27], the Supreme Court discussed the concept of alternative institutional mechanism in adjudicatory process and held as under:

“So long as a the (sic) alternative institutional mechanism or authority set up by an Act is not less effective than the High court, it is consistent with constitutional scheme. The faith of the people is the bed- rock on which the edifice of judicial review and efficacy of the adjudication are founded. The alternative arrangement must, therefore, be effective and efficient. For inspiring confidence and trust in the litigant public they must have an assurance that the person deciding their causes is totally and completely free from the influence or pressure from the Govt.”

In Union of India versus R. Gandhi,[28] the Supreme Court held:

            “Impartiality, independence, fairness and reasonableness in decision making are the hallmarks of Judiciary. If `Impartiality’ is the soul of Judiciary, `Independence’ is the life blood of Judiciary. Without independence, impartiality cannot thrive. Independence is not the freedom for Judges to do what they like. It is the independence of judicial thought. It is the freedom from interference and pressures which provides the judicial atmosphere where he can work with absolute commitment to the cause of justice and constitutional values. …..If Tribunals are to be vested with judicial power hitherto vested in or exercised by courts, such Tribunals should possess the independence, security and capacity associated with courts.”

            The Amendments to the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 through the provisions of the Finance Act, 2017 and the Rules needs to be withdrawn by the Government. It is against the basic structure of the Constitution; it impinges on the independence of the Judiciary;  the fundamental right to clean air, water and a balanced ecosystem; the various judgments of the Supreme Court and India’s international Commitment under various environmental conventions.

            The basic dictum is that what cannot be done directly, should not be done indirectly. Section 10 A of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 read with the provisions of the Finance Act, 2017 and the Tribunal, Appellate  Tribunal and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017 is meant to ensure the  executive takeover and control over judicial functions.

            The National Green Tribunal is today seen as hope for communities across the country in accessing environmental justice and to protect their legal right to a clean environment. The Amendments is bound to lead the de facto demise of this unique Institution striving to provide environmental justice in India.

[1] Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration specifically mandates that parties are to set up grievance redressal mechanism

[2] The 263rd Report presented before the Rajya Sabha on July 21, 2015

[3] Section 5 (1) National Green Tribunal Act 2010

[4] Schedule S.No. 19 The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experiences and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017

[5] (2010) 11 SCC 1

[6] (2010) 11 SCC 1

[7] Section 5 (1) National Green Tribunal Act 2010

[8] Schedule S.No. 19, The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experiences and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017

[9] Section 5 (2) National Green Tribunal Act 2010

[10] Schedule S.No. 19, The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experiences and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017

[11] (2010) 11 SCC 1

[12] Schedule S.No. 19, The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experiences and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017

[13] Union of India Vs R. Gandhi (2010) 11 SCC 1

[14] Section 7 National Green Tribunal Act 2010

[15] Schedule S.No. 19, The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experiences and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017

[16] (2010) 11 SCC 1

[17] (2014) 10 SCC 1

[18] Rule 7 (1) (a) National Green Tribunal (Manner of Appointment of Judicial and Expert Members, Salaries, Allowances and other Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and other Members and Procedure for Inquiry) Rules, 2010

[19] Rule 11 The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experiences and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017

[20] (2014) All (1) NGT Reporter (2)

[21] Section 10 National Green Tribunal Rules, 2010

[22] Rule 8 The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experiences and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017

[23] Section 10 National Green Tribunal Rules, 2010

[24] National Green Tribunal (Manner of Appointment of Judicial and Expert members, Salaries and Allowances and other terms and condition of chairperson and other members and procedure for inquiry ) Rules, 2010

[25] Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association vs. Union of India – 1993 (4) SCC 441, State of Bihar vs. Bal Mukund Shah – 2000 (4) SCC 640, Shri Kumar Padma Prasad vs. Union of India – 1992 (2) SCC 428, and All India Judges Association vs. Union of India – 2002 (4) SCC 247).

[26] Union of India versus R. Gandhi (2010) 11 SCC 1

[27] 1993 (4) SCC 119

[28] (2010) 11 SCC 1

Ritwick Dutta is an Environmental Lawyer, Legal Initiative of Forest and Environment (LIFE). E-mail: ritwickdutta@gmail.com

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