Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Sunday alleged that the Narendra Modi government has "emasculated" the National Green Tribunal to such an extent that it will be a "crucial test" to see whether a retired Supreme Court judge will agree to be its chairperson.
The former environment minister said the NGT was set up in October 2010 by an Act of Parliament, making India one of the very few countries to have such a specialised institution to protect the environment and ensure sustainable development.
"Since 2014 the Modi Govt has spared no effort to weaken the NGT and dilute its effectiveness," Ramesh alleged.
"Now it faces a crucial test. With the retirement of its Chairperson this Thursday, who was as per law a retired judge of the Supreme Court, serious doubts have arisen as to whether such a jurist who has served on the apex court will agree to be the Chairperson given the way it has been emasculated," the Congress general secretary said.
"We can only hope that the original spirit of the NGT Act is preserved although its letter has been amended to make the position of the Chairperson less attractive to a retired Supreme Court judge," Ramesh said.
The Centre had on Thursday authorised Justice Sheo Kumar Singh, a judicial member of the National Green Tribunal, to be its acting chairperson following the retirement of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in a notification, said Justice Singh would act as the chairperson until an appointment is made to the post.
-With PTI Input