Wednesday, 28 December 2011

{DUU-49} Delhi High Court Case 18-2-2009

Matu Win the case against MOEF

Reconstitute NEAA

Issue:-Constitution of the National Environment Appellate Authority {NEAA} according to High Court order.
Lawyers: Adv. Sanjay Parikh
Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary of Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment

In a historical judgment delivered by Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar of Delhi High Court imposed Rs. 20,000 cost on MoEF for Non- compliance of order dated 29-9-2005. passed by High Court of Delhi
Following are the relevant extract from the Order/Judgement

37. We are also not happy with the manner of appointment of Members of the NEAA. The present incumbents cannot be stated to be persons satisfying the requirements of possessing technical expertise in terms of Section 5(2} of the NEAA Act. Nevertheless we do not wish to disturb the tenure of the present incumbents since we are informed that they are likely to demit office sometime in March 2009. However, we direct that hereafter the Union of India shall appoint as Members of the NEAA only persons with special technical knowledge in the area concerning the environment as required by Section 5(2} NEAA Act. The appointment of retired bureaucrats of the MoEF, who do not satisfy this requirement, as Members of the NEAA will be contrary to the spirit of the Section 5 (2) NEAA Act and ought not to be countenanced.
44. It is accordingly directed that the Union of India shall grant to the Chairperson of the NEAA hereafter appointed the salary, allowances and other conditions of service as applicable to a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court. The Respondent Union of India will now proceed to take steps on this basis to fill up the post of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the NEAA and will complete the process within a period of 12 weeks from today. The necessary amendments to the NEAA Rules consistent with the above directions shall be carried out by the Union of India within the same time period. As regards the appointment of Members of the NEAA after the retirement of present incumbents, the Union of India will abide by the directions issued by this Court in para 37 of this judgment.
45. With the above directions, the application is disposed of. For not complying with the directions issued by this Court on September 29, 2005, which has necessitated the filing of this application, we direct the Respondent Union of India to pay the applicant costs of Rs.20,000 within four weeks.
Brief background of the case
• NEAA dismissed the appeal filed challenging the environment clearance granted to Loharinag-Pala HEP (600 MW) on the ground that Appeal was filed beyond stipulated period of 30 days and the delay was of 23 days. Although it was under the limit of 90 days with condonation of delay.

• Matu People's Organisation has challenged NEAA order dated 20 May 2005 before the Delhi High Court.
• On 29 Sept 2005 Delhi High Court passed an order
"Given regard to the importance of the Authority created under the National Environment Authority Act, it is appropriate to direct the Union of India and all its concerned functionaries to take requisite steps for clearing the proposals related to the appointment of the Chairman of the Appellate Authority and other Technical Members and reconstitute the Authority within 45 days.
The Registrar to fax this order to Secretary Ministry of Finance and Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest for compliance. The petition is disposed of."
BUT MOEF did not take any step to.
• On 7th February 2007 we filed an application on non-complies of above written order.
• After several dates MOEF did not wake-up. Excuses given by the govt. through Secretary MOEF, present in person in the Court on 20-10-2008.
• So after three year long battle in the court we are able to get this very important judgment which establishes the fact that MOEF’s intention is not to save environment and they also not want that their order should by challenged.
We are grateful to the Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar who considers all the issue raised by our Laywers Sanjay Parikh, Ritwik Dutta and Rahul Chowdhary.
We hope MOEF will obey this order and keep the letter and spirit of MOEF itself.

For full judgment pleas see


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