Name environment panel head in three months, court asks government

February 11th, 2009 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the government to appoint within three months the chairman for the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) that has been headless for the last eight years.
The court also asked the government to pay Rs.20,000 as fine for not following the court’s last direction.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar asked the government to amend the existing law on appointment of the chairman and members for the environment tribunal.

The NEAA was set up in 1997 by the court to lessen the burden of environment related public interest petitions on the judicial system.

Despite several directives by the Delhi High Court, the government failed to appoint any retired apex court judge or former chief justice of the high court to serve as NEAA chairman since 2000.

“You did not find a judge for eight years? Remarkable…Who else can be appointed as chairperson in place of a retired chief justice of the high court or a retired Supreme Court judge?” the bench said to the government counsel in December last year.

In 2005, following a public interest petition, the court asked the government to clear proposals on the appointment of chairman as well as other technical members and reconstitute the authority within 45 days.

Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra during the December hearing submitted that no judge was coming forward to the accept the post.

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