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Supreme Court Asks MoEF To Issue Appointment Letters To Incumbent Members Of NGT In 4 Wks, Who May Join Office Immediately Thereafter

Mehal Jain
18 Nov 2020 6:38 AM GMT
Supreme Court Asks MoEF To Issue Appointment Letters To Incumbent Members Of NGT In 4 Wks, Who May Join Office Immediately Thereafter
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that appointment orders be issued to the incumbent judicial and technical members of the National Green Tribunal without further delay, who may join office immediately thereafter.The bench headed by Justice A. M. Khanwilkar noted the submission of ASG N. Venkataraman that pursuant to the orders of July 23 and August 14 of the court, the proposal...

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that appointment orders be issued to the incumbent judicial and technical members of the National Green Tribunal without further delay, who may join office immediately thereafter.

The bench headed by Justice A. M. Khanwilkar noted the submission of ASG N. Venkataraman that pursuant to the orders of July 23 and August 14 of the court, the proposal regarding the appointment of the members has been forwarded to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) with due compliances for final decision.
"In light of the observations already made, there is no manner of doubt that the authorities must act with utmost expeditiousness, as no further delay is desirable in view of the current situation created with the Tribunal functioning with less than the minimum statutory strength", said the bench, also comprising Justices B. R. Gavai and Krishna Murari.
Deferring the hearing by 4 weeks, the bench ordered that appointment orders be issued to the incumbent judicial and technical members of the National Green Tribunal without further delay, who may join office immediately thereafter.
The bench required that a copy of this order be placed before the Secretary, MoEF for information and necessary action and a compliance report be submitted to the court before the next date.
The bench had on August 14 directed the Central Government to expedite the process of appointment of Judicial and Expert Members to the National Green Tribunal.

Section 4 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 stipulates inter alia that the Tribunal shall consist of (a) a full time Chairperson; (b) not less than ten full time Judicial Members and (c) not less than ten full time Expert Members.

The Petitioners had informed the Top Court that as on July 23, 2020 there were 7 vacant posts of Judicial Members and 6 vacant posts of Expert Members in the Tribunal. Consequently, the working strength of the Tribunal had been reduced only to 7 Members.

The Government on the other hand submitted that process for appointment of Members was underway. An advertisement had already been published for filling up of 9 vacancies towards Judicial Members and the process of filling up of 6 vacant posts of Expert Members was also at an advance stage.

In view of this submission, the Court has requested the Selection Committee to "expedite the processes so that the applicant(s) will able to issue appointment letters to meet the piquant situation created due to reduced working strength of the Tribunal…"

The Bench cautioned that working of only seven Members is "opposed" to the mandate of Section 4 which prescribes that the minimum strength of the Tribunal at any given point of time should not be less than ten Members.

It also asked the Government to "speed up" the selection process for Judicial Members to keep up with the mandate of law which requires that the strength of Judicial Members and Expert members is "equivalent".

"Merely expediting the selection process for Expert Members alone may result in mismatch in the ratio between the two sources (Judicial Member and Expert Member)," the bench said.



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