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HC asks Centre to file status report on NGT appointments

Delhi high court 120170914195409_l

New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Centre to file a status report on appointments to the NGT after the government said the process of appointing judicial and expert members had been started.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar asked the government to expedite the process of appointments on the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The court posted for October 31 a public interest litigation that sought filling up of the NGT vacancies and asked the Centre to file a status report on the appointments.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest said it had issued two media advertisements to invite applications for the posts of NGT members.

The advertisement pertain to five vacant posts of judicial members and seven of expert members. The last date for receiving applications is September 18.

Earlier, the court expressed concern over impending NGT vacancies.

Currently, there are eight judicial members and six expert members on the NGT.

The number of expert members on the tribunal would come down to two in December owing to retirement of members. Only three judicial members would be left on the panel after February 13, 2018, lawyer-petitioner Gaurav Bansal said.

His counsel Sumeer Sodhi told the court that non-appointment of expert and judicial members hampered the smooth functioning of the tribunal.

"This hinders dispensation of justice," said the petitioner, adding that a fine judicial institution like the NGT was heading towards premature death due to bureaucratic red tape.

He told the court that on account of retirement of most of its members, two zonal benches of the National Green Tribunal would stop functioning by October.

"Non-appointment of NGT members 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," he said in his petition.

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