Tuesday, 20 December 2011

{DUU-46} Delhi High Court : NEAA case 17-12-2008

Chief Justice of Delhi High Court says:

It (NEAA) is eye wash what is the of this act?

Delhi High Court Case:- Vimalbhai Vs. Union of India
Issue:-nON-Constitute the National Environment Appellate Authority {NEAA} according to High Court order.
Laywers: Adv. Sanjay Parikh
Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary of Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment

Today the matter was taken up by the High Court as first item of the bench. The MoEF filed their affidavit in response to the last order dated 3.12.2008 of the High Court. On the last date of hearing the order was passed by High Court that:
"We find that the terms and conditions offered to the Chairperson, National Environment Appellate Authority(`NEAA') are substantially different
from those offered to former Judges who have been appointed as Chairperson/Members of other Authorities/Bodies. It seems all of them have been offered terms and conditions similar to sitting Judges of the Supreme Court, if not identical. We are also informed that the existing members of NEAA are all former bureaucrats having no technical expertise.
The Secretary, MoEF is directed to file an affidavit within one week explaining why the terms and conditions offered to the Chairperson NEAA is different from those offered to retired judges of the Supreme Court and who have been appointed as Chairperson of other authorities and why persons having the necessary technical expertise have not been appointed as members of NEAA."
Pursuant to this order, the MoEF filed an affidavit Secretary MoEF is out of county and affidavit is filed by Joint Secretary Regarding the appointment of Chairperson affidavit repeated their previous statement and provisions of the NEAA Act. Regarding the appointment of the technical members of NEAA, the affidavit stated that the members are qualifies to be appointed as technical members of the Authority as they are retired Indian Forest Services officers and retired IAS officers.
The Court showed their anguish on non appointment of Chairperson of NEAA for last eight years. It was observed during the course of hearing that Chairperson can be a retired judge of Supreme Court or retired Chief Justice of High Court are entitled for pay scale of Secretary to the Government of India and not at par with the sitting Judge of Supreme Court or High Court. And that is one of the reason that the post of Chairperson remained vacant till date.
The High Court said during the course of hearing that the MoEF has made the NEAA act ineffective. In response to the statement of Mr. Malhotra, ASJ appearing for MoEF that on 60-70 case has been filed till date before NEAA, the court said that every single case is important.
The counsel Mr. Ritwick Dutta appearing for Petitioner, apprised the Court of the fact that the NEAA was constituted so that the technical issues can be best handled by experts and NEAA is mix of Judicial and Technical experts. Now NEAA does not have judicial expert and technical members are also not technically qualified to handle the issues related to dams, nuclear power plant and uranium mining.
After the long hearing court reserved the order.
So wait and hope for the best.

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