The National Green Tribunal today barred the chairpersons of nine state pollution control boards (SPCBs) from functioning with immediate effect for not being appointed in consonance with the judgement of the tribunal. A vacation bench, headed by Justice R S Rathore, ordered chiefs of SPCBs of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Maharashtra to stop their functioning. The green panel, however, granted three months to Delhi government and two months to Punjab and Uttar Pradesh for making appointments to their pollution control boards as per the guidelines issued by it. The matter is listed for next hearing on July 4. The tribunal had earlier rapped various states for not submitting compliance report on appointment to the posts of chairpersons and member secretaries in their pollution control boards. The NGT had in August last year asked the state governments to fill the vacancies in the boards as per the guidelines laid down by it and file the report.
Earlier, the NGT had issued notices to the states and chairpersons of their pollution control boards who have not been appointed as per the norms laid down by it. The green panel had asked them why they should not be directed to stop functioning as chairmen as they were not appointed in consonance with the judgement of the tribunal. The green panel, which had issued a slew of guidelines for appointments to the posts of Chairman and Member Secretary, had in August said the nominations should be of persons who have “special knowledge, practical experience or qualification in environment protection studies” and not on the ground of their association with state government. The tribunal said the chairman or member secretary should have a fixed term, which should not be extended. Such persons should not hold office in the Board in accordance to their tenure in state government.
The judgement had come on a plea by Uttarakhand resident Rajendra Singh Bhandari, who had challenged the constitution of state pollution control boards on the ground that people who did not qualify were appointed as chairman, member secretary and members of these boards. According to the plea, these appointments are bound to affect environmental issues seriously in as much as the grant of consents under Prevention and Control of Pollution Act and the entire regulatory regime depended on the effective working of these boards.