September 26, 2017
States asked to frame Guidelines for appointment of Chairperson and Members in SPCBs.
The Apex Court has slammed the State Govts for their “casual & chalta hai ” attitude towards environment protection & controlling pollution by not appointing people with professional expertise in State Pollution Control Boards(SPCBs) & preferring those who’re close to powers.
A bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said that it’s the constitutional obligation of the Govts. to preserve environment but their attitude for appointing professionals & experts to the SPCBs had been “remarkably casual”.
It directed the states to frame guidelines/recruitment rules for chairman & members of SPCBs within 6 months to ensure that professionals & experts’re appointed in the Boards.
“Why’s it important to be more than careful in making such appointments? There can be no doubt that the protection & preservation of the environment is extremely vital for all of us & unless this responsibility is taken very seriously, particularly by the state govts. & the SPCBs, we’re inviting trouble that’ll have adverse consequences for future generations. Issues of sustainable development, public trust & inter-generational equity aren’t mere catchwords, but’re concepts of great importance in environmental jurisprudence,” the bench observed.
The Court passed the order on a batch of petitions filed by various state govts. challenging National Green Tribunal(NGT) order restraining chairmen of 10 State Pollution Control Boards from discharging their duties after the govts. failed to frame regulation for appointment.
The SC set aside the order saying that NGT had no jurisdiction to pass such order, however, it agreed with the anxiety expressed by the tribunal towards careless approach of States towards environment protection.
The bench said that “It’s this chalta hai attitude that led the NGT to direct the state govts. to consider examining the appointment of the Chairperson & members in the SPCBs & determining if their appointment deserves continuation or cancellation…While we appreciate the anxiety of the NGT to preserve & protect the environment as a part of its statutory functions, we can’t extend these concepts to the extent of enabling the NGT to consider who should be appointed as a Chairperson or a member of any SPCB or who shouldn’t be so appointed.”
Expressing concern, the Court said that it’s unfortunate that SPCBs continued to be manned by persons who didn’t have necessary expertise/professional experience to deal with pollution issues & were appointed in violation of recommendations made by various committees & judgements of Courts emphasising the need to appoint experts.
“The concern really isn’t 1 of a lack of professional expertise – there’s plenty of it available in the country, but the lack of dedication & willingness to take advantage of the resources available & instead benefit someone close to the powers that be. With this couldn’t-care-less attitude, the environment and public trust are the immediate casualties” it said.
Read Laws @ Latest Laws –
Environment (Protection) Act,1986
Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
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