The National Green Tribunal has indefinitely adjourned the proceedings relating to the appointments in state pollution control boards (SPCBs) after it was informed that the Supreme Court has ordered maintenance of the existing state in the matter. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar noted the submission made by the various states that the apex court has stayed the proceedings pending before the tribunal. "The counsel appearing for the parties informed us that the Supreme Court of India has directed for maintenance of status quo and has further stayed the proceedings pending before the tribunal. "In view of the statement made, we direct that this case be adjourned sine die.
Liberty is granted to all the parties to move the tribunal, as and when an order is passed by the Supreme Court of India in future," the bench said. On June 8, the NGT had barred the chairpersons of ten state pollution control boards (SPCBs) from functioning with immediate effect for not being appointed in consonance with its judgement. The Maharashtra government was among several parties which had challenged the June 8 NGT order in the Supreme Court barring the heads of 10 state boards from working till the appointments are made in accordance with its judgment. The states are Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Manipur. The green panel, however, had granted three months to Delhi government and two months to Punjab and Uttar Pradesh for making the appointments to their pollution control boards as per the guidelines issued by it. The NGT had in August last year asked the state governments to fill the vacancies in the boards as per the guidelines laid down by it and file their reports. The green panel, which had issued a slew of guidelines for appointments to the posts of Chairman and Member Secretary, had in August said the nominations should be of persons who have "special knowledge, practical experience or qualification in environment protection studies" and not on the ground of their association with state government. The NGT said the chairman or member secretary should have a fixed term, which should not be extended. Such persons should not hold office in the Board in accordance to their tenure in state government. The judgement had come on a plea by Uttarakhand resident Rajendra Singh Bhandari, who had challenged the constitution of state pollution control boards on the grounds that people who did not qualify were appointed as chairman, member secretary and members of these boards.
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