New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal, a
judicial body exclusively to deal with environmental issues, is likely to start functioning from May with the Supreme Court
lifting a stay imposed by Madras High Court on rules of
appointment of its members.
The apex court stayed the high court`s order and directed
the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to "keep all
rules and regulations in place by May 6" and inform the bench
about its status, so that the body may start functioning.
A bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly
also indicated that even if some deficiencies remain in the
rules, the court will pass orders to the effect that petitions
may be filed and interim orders may be sought from the green
tribunal with immediate effect after May 7.
The bench passed the orders on a petition by MoEF seeking
transfer of the case, challenging rules for appointment of
members of National Green Tribunal, from Madras High Court to
the apex court.
The Centre had sought transfer of the case on the ground
that the apex court was already hearing a matter related to
non-appointment of expert and judicial members for NGT, due to
which the only environment appellate body has remained non-
functional since it came into existence on October 18, 2010.
The case was initiated in 2005 by environmental activist
Vimal Bhai, challenging environment clearance granted for
execution of 600 MW Loharinag-Pala hydroelectric power project
at Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand.
Since then the case is pending due to non-appointment of
members for National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA).
With NGT coming into existence, NEAA ceased to exist but
the problem of non-appointment of members continued and
rendered NGT non-functional.
The apex court had on December 16 last year directed the
Centre to appoint expert and judicial members for the tribunal
and make NGT functional in one month.