Monday, 16 July 2012

Press Note: 16-07-2012

Resignation of Judicial members from NGT makes Supreme Court unhappy with Central Govt. 

Case in Supreme Court of India:-Union of India Vs. Vimal Bhai & others
Advocates Sanjay Parikh, Ritwick Dutta, Rahul Choudhary, Anitha Shenoy are appearing before the Supreme Court.

The matter of Union of India Vs. Vimal Bhai & ORS. on 13/05/2012 was heard by Hon'ble Mr. Justice G.S. Singvi and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya.

After hearing councel of the respondents, Shri Sanjay parikh and Additional soliciter Gernel of GOI. Court gave the order "We have perused additional affidavit dated 09.07.2012  filed  by respondent No.1 and additional affidavit filed today by Shri  Surjit  Singh, Joint  Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi.  We are extremely unhappy to note that two  Judicial  Members  of the National Green Tribunal - Hon'ble Shri Justice  C.V.Ramulu  and  Hon'ble Shri Justice Amit Talukdar have tendered resignation.  Shri  Sanjay  Parikh, learned counsel for respondent No.1  gave  out  that  the  Judicial  Members resigned  because  of  the  non-availability  of  functional  facility   and residential accommodation.

                         Learned  Solicitor  General  and  learned  Additional  Solicitor General assured that they will immediately  take  up  the  matter  with  the concerned authorities of the Government and make a statement on the date  to be fixed by  the  Court  on  the  issue  of  making  available  the  housing  accommodation to the Judicial Members of the National Green Tribunal.

            In view of the statement made by the learned  Solicitor  General and the Additional Solicitor General, we deem it proper to  request  Hon'ble Shri Justice C.V.Ramulu and Hon'ble Shri Justice Amit Talukdar not to  press for acceptance of  their  resignation  for  a  period  of  one  month.   The concerned authority  in  the  Central  Government  shall  not  accept  their resignation till one week after the next date of hearing, which is fixed  as 13.08.2012."

It is important to say that while GOI has accommodation for the Secretary,MoEF on the first day of his joining, they do not have proper place for the Honb'le Judges of the NGT.

In our additional afidavit we says that "It is pertinent to point out that the earlier the Hon’ble Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (Hon’ble Justice L.S Panta) had resigned followed by the resignation of an Expert Member (Vijai Sharma). The deliberate delay in issuing the appointment letter to Hon’ble Justice R.V Ravendran  despite his name being recommended by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Supreme  Court only reveals that the union of India is not keen to ensure a fully functional Green Tribunal. The Respondent has reasons to believe that the resignation have been due to lack of basic facilities including residential accommodation being provided to the Judicial and technical members of the National Green Tribunal. It is an unfortunate state of affairs that the most important environmental court of India set up through an Act of Parliament is being rendered non functional due to lack of residential accommodation being provided to the members. Since the last one year the members of the NGT have been forced to stay in Government guest houses/ State Bhawans. This has adversely affected the dignity of office as well as effective judicial functioning.  The act of the Central Government specially the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Ministry of Urban Development is aimed purely in ensuring that the National Green Tribunal is rendered non functional in the similar manner in which the National Environment Appellate Authority was made non functional.  The prime reason is the due to the fact that the National Green Tribunal has been passing decisions which have not been favorable to the Central Government and the central Government is now being made more accountable for its decision concerning the environment and natural resources.

The continuing lack of basic facilities which includes residential accommodation, proper and dedicated staff and court premises is adversely affecting the administration of justice, the dignity of the Court and also shows that the government is not serious about environmental issues.


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