The Government has appointed four Expert Members and two Judicial Members in the National Green Tribunal (NGT). A Selection Committee as per the details given below has been constituted under Rule 3 of NGT (Manner of Appointment of Judicial and Expert Members, Salaries, Allowances and other Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and other Members and procedure for Inquiry) Rules, 2010 dated 26.11.2010, framed under NGT Act, 2010:
(1) Sitting Judge of Supreme Court nominated by the Chief Justice of India in consultation with Ministry of Law and Justice- Chaiperson
(2) Chairperson of the NGT Member
(3) Secretary to Government of India, M/o Environment & Forests Member
(4) Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur Member
(5) Director, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad Member
(6) President, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi Member
During the first phase of selection process of Members in the Tribunal, the following criteria were applied on the applicants who initially fulfilled the eligibility under Section 5 of the NGT Act, 2010 for further screening of applications:
For Judicial Member
No sitting/former Judge of the High Court will be considered for appointment to the post of ‘Judicial Member’ of the Tribunal if he has retired prior to one year or still has more than one year in service, both computed from the date of advertisement. It is in the interest of the Tribunal and administration of Justice as well that a person appointed should have reasonable tenure to be the Member of the Tribunal and discharge his functions effectively.
The other terms are the Judge concerned should have preferably performed judicial work relating to Environment Laws, the comments of the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court, may also be invited in relation to judges short-listed for appointments as ‘Judicial Member’ of the Tribunal and the applicants who are presently working as Member of any Tribunal or have got an assignment post-retiral will not be considered.
For Expert Member
(a) No serving/retired Government employee will be considered for appointment to the post of ‘expert Member’ of the Tribunal if he has retired prior to one year or still has more than one year in service, both computed from the date of advertisement .It is in the interest of the Tribunal and administration of justice as well that a person appointed should have reasonable tenure to be the Member of the Tribunal and discharge his functions effectively.
(b) The ‘Expert Member’ besides satisfying the qualifications prescribed under Section 5 read with Rule 5 should have requisite experience relatable to expertise in the environmental management.
(c) The Ministry to also examine whether there is any serious conflict of interest between the applicant and the Ministry/ Administrative interest of the Tribunal
(d) The applicants who have opted for deputation only and are below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India would not be considered.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Environment and Forests (independent charge) Shrimati Jayanthi Natarajan in a written reply to a question by Dr. Arvind Kumar Sharma in Lok Sabha today.
The Government today approved the proposal of Ministry of Law and Justice to operationalize the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms to realize and implement the objectives set out in the Vision Document adopted at the Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices on 24– 25 October, 2009.
Earlier, on 3rd December, 2009, the Government had approved ‘in principle’ the proposal of this Department to set up a National Mission with directions that specific approvals from competent authority will be sought on different components of the Mission after completing prescribed consultation procedures.
Objectives of the National Mission
The National Mission will focus on improvement in administration of justice and justice delivery and legal reforms in the entire country and it has to address diverse needs of all sections of stakeholders in a Mission Mode approach.
The Mission spanning 5 years from 2011-2016 would focus on two major goals as envisaged in the vision document, namely :
(i) increasing access by reducing delays and arrears in the system, and
(ii) enhancing accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards and capacities.
The salient features of the National Mission are:-
(1) The National Mission would comprise of Advisory Council, Governing Council, National Mission Leader and the Mission Directorate.
(2) The Advisory council will advise on the goals, objectives and strategies of the National Mission and the Action Plan and its implementation and performance of the Mission in meeting its objectives and would be chaired by the Minister for Law and Justice and would have membership from Parliament, State Governments, Jurists & senior officers of Government of India.
(3) The Governing Council would facilitate implementation, give policy directions and oversee the work of the Mission and would be headed by the Minister for Law and Justice.
(4) The Secretary, Department of Justice would be the National Mission Leader.
(5) A Mission Directorate would be constituted to implement and monitor the various initiative / programme of the National Mission. It would be headed by an officer of the rank of the Joint Secretary who would act as the Mission Director.
(6) An Action Plan has been drawn up which would of course be subjected to change once the Governing Council meets to set out the agenda. The tentative Action Plan for five strategic initiatives are:-
(i) Policy and Legislative changes such as All India Judicial Service, Litigation Policy, Judicial Impact Assessment, Amendment in N.I. Act and Arbitration & Conciliation Act, Legal Education Reforms etc.
(ii) Re-engineering procedures and alternate methods of Dispute Resolution such as identification of bottlenecks, procedural changes in court processes, statutory amendments to reduce and disincentivize delays, Fast tracking of procedures, appointment of court managers and Alternate Dispute Resolution.
(iii) Focus on Human Resource Development such as filling up of vacancy positions in all courts of judges and court staff, strengthening State Judicial Academies, Training of Public Prosecutors and ICT enablement of public prosecutors offices, strengthening National Judicial Academy and Training of mediators.
(iv) Leveraging ICT for better justice delivery such as implementation of Ecourts project, integration of ICT in the judiciary and use in criminal justice delivery and creation of National Arrears Grid.
(v) Improving Infrastructure such as improving physical infrastructure of the District and subordinate courts and creation of special / additional courts like Morning / Evening Courts, Family Courts and Gram Nyayalayas.
There are certain initiatives listed above which are ongoing would be further strengthened and new initiatives would be undertaken as indicated in the action plan which may be revised / enhanced by the Governing Council.
(7) Infrastructure development for the subordinate judiciary is the major thrust area of the National Mission. Inadequacy of infrastructure facilities in District and Subordinate courts has remained a major bottleneck in the judicial system largely contributing to the accumulation of arrears. In order to augment the resources of the State Governments for development of infrastructure facilities for the judiciary a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) has remained in operation since 1993-94 at 50:50 basis. A preliminary assessment of requirement of infrastructure for subordinate courts from the States revealed that around Rs. 7000 crore would be needed over five years for construction/maintenance etc. The Central Government outflow would be around Rs. 5500 crore over five years.
(8) During Regional Consultations held at Guwahati, Chennai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Goa during June-August 2010, a number of States raised the demand for change in funding pattern from 50:50 to 75:25 and enhancement in the amount of Central grant. In a Mission Mode programme a higher allocation by Central Government would incentivise the States and hence, the Department of Justice propose the Central contribution be raised to 75% of the allocations and sharing pattern between Centre and the States should be changed to 75:25 for the States other than North-Eastern States which already have approved funding pattern of 90:10. Cabinet today also approved the funding of infrastructure development of subordinate courts in the ratio of Central / State assistance will be 75:25 instead of the present 50:50. In case of North-Eastern State, the ratio will be 90:10 as already agreed to in the CSS Scheme by the Planning Commission. This modified scheme will be implemented under the National Mission.
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Meeting of Consultative Committee on Law & Justice Discussions on E-Courts, Justice Delivery System, Law Commission Report
The Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting of Ministry of Law and Justice was held under the chairmanship of Shri M Veerappa Moily, Minister for Law and Justice on 16 May 2011 in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by Members of Parliament (MPs) as Members of the Consultative Committee. The officials from Ministry of Law and Justice and NIC attended the meeting.
The Chairman and Minister for Law and Justice apprised the Members of the Committee on Action Taken Report of the last meeting held on 6 December 2010:
- A status on setting up of family courts in the States was informed.
- Regional Consultations were held on Electoral Reforms in Bhopal, Kolkata, Mumbai, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Bangalore jointly with the Election Commission of India. During these meetings, 13th Finance Commission Recommendations were also discussed with the Chief Justices of High Courts.
- Implementation of 13th Finance Commission recommendations and utilization of grants was discussed in a State Level Conference on 5th May, 2011 with Law/Home Secretaries, Finance Secretaries and Registrar Generals of the High Courts. 15 States have formulated State Litigation Policy and sent a copy to Department of Justice which is under examination.
The other major issues discussed at he meeting pertained to the E-Court Project, improving justice delivery – steps to reduce pendency, implementation of reports of Law Commission of India and Rajiv Gandhi Advocate’s Training Scheme.
E-Court Project – The scheme of computerization of district and subordinate courts in the country and for upgradation of ICT infrastructure of the higher courts was approved at a cost of Rs.441.8 crore in February 2007 revised in September 2010 at a cost of Rs. 935 crore due to increase in number of court complexes and courts, expansion of scope and additional items and increase in rates of products and services. Phase I of the Project is planned to be implemented in 12000 courts till 31st March, 2012 and remaining 2249 courts till 31st March, 2014. The following points were raised by the Members during discussion:
(i) States should be given a freedom to modify the software applications for the courts.
(ii) Software for the e-court project should take care of regional languages for subordinate courts .
(iii) At district and taluka level for providing power backups for hardware and other installations an option for solar energy may also be considered.
(iv) Training modules for judges and their staff and familiarizing advocates may be provided for within the scheme.
(v) Open source software should be used instead of propriety software as it requires lot of investment in future. In this regard, a specific direction should be issued to the implementing agency.
(vi) The procurement of software and hardware should be decentralized without compromising the quality.
(vii) Close coordination with the State Governments be done.
(viii) Technical manpower provided for the purpose should be of good quality.
Improving justice delivery – steps to reducing pendency
The members felt that:
(i) Petty cases should be disposed off through morning/evening courts/shift courts and Lok Adalats.
(ii) Reform measures should be taken up with regard to Appointment of Judges and Judicial Standards and Accountability.
(iii) A balance should be maintained while reducing the pendency that there should be no compromise on quality of judgments. A study would be useful to study this correlation. Department of Justice will take up this study.
Implementation of Law Commission Reports
Members were assured that Pending recommendations of Law Commission will be considered in the Department of Law and action will be taken expeditiously.
Rajiv Gandhi Advocate’s Training Scheme
Members were informed that Rs. 50 lakh have been allocated to National Law University for imparting the training. The first batch training will take place in the month of June-July, 2011.
Members present at the meeting were Members of Parliament Shri Manish Tiwari, Shri shadilal batra, Shri M B Rajesh, Shri P Rajeeve and Shri Gopal Vyas.
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