Construction equipment sits idle at a site shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Would You Like To Wind Up NGT, Delhi High Court Asks Government

Expressing concern over the posts of judicial and expert members in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) falling vacant shortly, the Delhi High Court on Friday asked the government if it wanted to wind up the environmental protection body.

A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar raised the question after it was informed that after December, only three judicial and two expert members would remain in the tribunal. “Would you like to wind up the National Green Tribunal?,” the bench asked the government, while directing it to file a status report within two weeks.

The matter will now be heard on September 14.

The court was hearing a petition filed by lawyer Gaurav Kumar Bansal, seeking filling up of vacancies in the NGT. Bansal, who was represented by advocate Sumeer Sodhi, said, “Due to the red-tapism involved in bureaucracy, a fine institution like the NGT is heading towards a premature death.”

The court was also informed that on account of retirement of most of its members, two zonal benches of the NGT would stop functioning by October.

The petition said currently, there were eight judicial members and six expert members in the NGT and with retirements due, after December 9, the number of expert members would come down to two and after February 13, 2018, only three judicial members would be left in the panel.

“The lackadaisical attitude and apathy of the government in not filling up the vacancies in the posts of judicial and expert members is intriguing and appalling,” the petition said.