The National Green Tribunal has issued notices to various states and chairpersons of their pollution control boards who have not been appointed as per the norms laid down by it. The direction came after the states failed to file a status report, even six months after the deadline, on complying with the guidelines laid down by the tribunal for appointments to their pollution control boards.
The green panel asked them why they should not be directed to cease functioning as chairman of the respective boards for not being appointed in consonance with the judgement of the tribunal.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said that three months time was granted to various pollution control boards to make appointments. However, none of the boards have taken effective steps in this regard till date.
The tribunal reiterated that concept of adhocism in appointments has to go and only qualified person with fixed tenure should be appointed.
“The period of three months had elapsed in November 2016 and further period of six months has already gone by, but no results have come, as of now.
“We do not expect the states not to take action on the orders of the tribunal and to flout the directions issued by it, particularly in relation to posts of such sensitivity and responsibility, as entire environmental status of the state would depend on the functioning of the state pollution control board,” the bench said.
The NGT in August last year had questioned state governments and Union territories on top appointments in state pollution control boards and directed them to fill the vacancies by appointing persons with requisite qualification within three months.
The green panel, which also issued a slew of guidelines for appointments to the posts of Chairman and Member Secretary, had 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.