The National Green Tribunal today directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) not to appoint people as chairperson or members of the Expert Appraisal Committees who do not have experience in the field of environment.
The EACs are responsible for looking into projects which apply for environmental clearances and giving recommendations to the MoEF on whether the projects should be approved or rejected.
A bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar asked MoEF to provide eligibility criteria and specific requirements for the person to be appointed as Chairperson of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC)/ State Expert Appraisal Committee(SEAC) within one month from today.
"We direct MoEF not to appoint persons as chairpersons or members of the EAC/SEAC who do not have experience in the field of environment under the above head and who do not satisfy the prescribed eligibility criteria as that would lead to improper consideration and disposal of application for clearance filed by the project proponent," the bench said in its judgement.
The tribunal's judgement came over a petition filed by NGO Kalpavriskha challenging the appointment of people who do not have any expertise on environment to become members and chairpersons of various expert committees.
According to the petition, MoEF has been appointing persons as chairperson and members of the EAC who do not have the requisite expertise on the necessary issues of environmental significance.
"Given the complex nature of environment issue, it is essential that the EAC should have been composed of people who are well versed with social and environmental context of development related decision making," the plea had said.