The National Green Tribunal has taken strong exception to an ad-hoc appointee holding the post of chairman of the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and asked it to make a regular appointment within three months. The green panel warned the Yogi Adityanath government that in case it fails to complete the appointment process of the chairman within the stipulated time-frame, then the person now holding the post shall cease to function. At present, the environment secretary of the Uttar Pradesh government is holding the additional charge of the chairman’s post. A vacation bench headed by Justice R S Rathore said the post of the chairman is a “sensitive and responsible” post as the entire environmental status of the state depends on the functioning of the pollution control board.
“On behalf of State of UP it has been clearly stated in the reply as well as by the counsel representing it, that in the month of August last year, erstwhile chairman of UPPCB had been changed and a new chairman, who according to him is qualified in accordance with judgement, has been nominated. “As regard to framing of rules and regulations in respect of appointment, terms and conditions of the chairman the State of UP has already initiated the process. Counsel for State of UP as well as the UPPCB have submitted that 2 months time be granted for framing of rules and regulations and one month thereafter, for appointment of chairman,” the bench said.
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The NGT had earlier 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. The green panel 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 a report. Earlier, the NGT had issued notice to the states and chairpersons of their pollution control boards which have not been appointed as per the norms laid down by it. It had asked them as to 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 appointment to the posts of the chairmen and member secretaries, 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 a 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 grounds that people who did not qualify were appointed as chairman, member secretary and members of these boards.