‘Backdated’ appointment of four NGT judicial members

In an unprecedented move, the government has issued a notification for appointment of four retired judges as judicial members to the National Green Tribunal with each having an appointment date from the year 2021.

The notification dated December 21, 2021 issued on Friday mentions that all four appointments are made in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-sections (1) and (3) of section 6, read with section 7 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (19 of 2010).

Justice Sudhir Agarwal, former Judge of High Court of Allahabad has been appointed as the Judicial Member of the National Green Tribunal with effect from April 6, 2021 for a period of four years or till he attains the age of sixty-seven years or till further orders, whichever is earliest.

Justice M. Sathyanarayanan, Judge of High Court of Madras has been appointed as the Judicial Member of the National Green Tribunal with effect from the May 17, 2021 for a period of four years or till he attains the age of sixty-seven years or till further orders, whichever is earliest.

Justice B. Amit Sthalekar, Judge of High Court of Allahabad has been appointed as the Judicial Member of the National Green Tribunal with effect from April 7, 2021 for a period of four years or till he attains the age of sixty-seven years or till further orders, whichever is earliest.

Justice Brijesh Sethi, Judge of High Court of Delhi has been appointed as the Judicial Member of the National Green Tribunal with effect from April 6, 2021 for a period of four years or till he attains the age of sixty-seven years or till further orders, whichever is earliest.

Legal experts have expressed apprehension about the appointment. “I have never heard of such a thing. There is no logic to it,” said Ritwick Dutta, environmental lawyer and founder of Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE).

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