Stop clipping the wings of National Green Tribunal (NGT)
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Hon’ble Chief Justice of India,
The Supreme Court of India,
Tilak Marg, New Delhi - 110001
Subject: Protection of the independence of the judiciary and to stop unwarranted clipping of the wings of N.G.T.
Reference: Appointment of Judges and Experts at the National Green Tribunal
The Finance Ministry has notified the “Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017” in pursuance of the powers delegated to it under Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017. This provision gives the Central government the power to “make rules to provide for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and the other terms and conditions of service” for judges appointed to 19 tribunals including the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
This amendment has severe implications on the very foundation of the National Green Tribunal. The new Rules affect the independence, authority and capacity of the NGT to adjudicate on environmental issues and lead to a complete executive takeover of judicial function with clear violation of separation of power between the Executive and the Judiciary. This amendment is bound to render the National Green Tribunal ineffective for adjudicating on environmental disputes and protecting fundamental rights.
Ministry of Law and Justice issued The Finance Act, 2017 and which came into effect from 01-04-2017. Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 is relevant and is quoted below :-
The Finance Act, 2017 Provides vide its section 184 that:
(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:.
Ministry of Finance, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017, issued “Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017” on 01-06-2017.
As many people have objected on this proposed change as follows, we are also of a considerate view that these are serious issues related to Independent Judiciary.
The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunals and other Authorities Rules, 2017 clearly says that among various other dilutions, suggests that ‘NGT Chair- Person can be any one who is Supreme Court Judge or qualified to be a Supreme Court Judge or Chief Justice of High Court or has been an Expert Member or Judicial Member for three years; or even a person of ability, integrity and standing and having special knowledge of, and professional experience of not less than 25 years in Law including five years practical experience in the field of environment and forest. As opposed to this, the NGT Act, 2010 provides that the Chair Person should be a current or former Supreme Court Judge or Chief Justice of High Court
A complete dilution is made through the above Rules by the Central Government specially in the following provisions of National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 which will make this institution teeth-less and will become a sub-ordinate body of MoEF.
1. Qualification of Chairperson, Judicial Member and Expert Member
2. Removal from office of Chairperson, Judicial Member and Expert Member
3. Leave sanctioning authority of Chairperson, Judicial Member and Expert Member
4. HRA, TA and other Conditions of Service of Chairperson, Judicial Member and Expert Member.
The above conspiracy over dilution of rule for appointment, selection, term of office, removal and other aspects of the functioning of National Green Tribunal Members is suspicious and it will be detrimental to the whole objective of formation of National Green Tribunal as specified mechanism to deal with substantial issues related to environment. Basically the Finance Act 2017 due to which the National Green Tribunal’s process is being crippled.
We request all to kindly support this matter urgently and take initiative to spread the message.
Adv Asim Sarode, Mrinal Bilaware, Aiswarya Mudaliar, Tejus Jain, Dilip Dharmadikari, Pravin Ingle, Sanjay Jadhav (“Lawyers for Earth-Justice”)
Dr. Vishwambhar Choudhary, Sarang Yadwadkar
Asim Sarode, Flat No. 1 Prathamesh CHS, Lane No. 5 Prabhat Road, Pune- 411004
email@example.com contact- 0985082117, 09822009923
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