HC concerns over vacancies in NGT, notice to Centre
New Delhi: Asking the government if it wanted to wind up the National Green Tribunal, the Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre on a public interest litigation seeking filling up of vacancies in the tribunal.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar was concerned over the posts of judicial and expert members in the NGT falling vacant shortly, and sought response from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change by September 14.
Currently, there were eight judicial members and six expert members in the NGT and with retirements due, after December 9, the number of expert members would come down to two and after February 13, 2018, only three judicial members would be left in the panel, said the plea filed by advocate Gaurav Bansal.
Advocate Sumeer Sodhi appearing for Bansal told the court that breach of the duty of the government in not appointing the expert members as well as the judicial members of the NGT directly results in hampering the smooth functioning of the tribunal.
"This in turn acts as a hindrance in the dispensation of justice system," said the plea, adding that due to red-tapism involved in the bureaucracy, a fine judicial institution like the NGT is heading towards pre-mature death.
The lawyer informed the court that on account of retirement of most of its members, the two zonal benches of the NGT would stop functioning by October.
"Non-appointment of members in the NGT also amounts to interference in the independence of judiciary. More so, the idea of having specialised tribunals adjudicating upon matters of particular fields would be defeated if the tribunals are not given the manpower and resources to diligently discharge their functions and duties," said the plea.