Governance

UPPCB chairman appointed in violation of NGT orders, claims activist

JPS Rathore — a former state BJP vice president — was also not qualified to hold the position of chairperson, the activist claimed

 
By Ishan Kukreti
Last Updated: Wednesday 18 March 2020
The Uttar Pradesh government violated two National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders Photo: NGT

The Uttar Pradesh government violated two National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders when it appointed JPS Rathore — a former state BJP vice-president — as the state's pollution control board (UPPCB) chairperson on March 9, 2019, claimed Pradeep Kumar, an activist and law professor at Bareilly College.

The appointment of state PCB chairpersons was taken up in Rajendra Singh Bhandari Vs State of Uttarakhand & Ors, a case registered in 2013, over which the NGT had passed two orders, applicable for the states of Delhi, Punjab and UP.

An NGT order issued August 24, 2016 laid down the educational qualifications needed for the appointment of the chairperson.

Another order issued June 8, 2017 stated that the state government in question must frame rules for such an appointment within two months after which the process of the appointment must take place within a month.

Rathore does not qualify on both counts, Kumar alleged.

“I received information under RTI that the state did not frame rules till January 22, 2020 and yet appointed a new chairperson in March 2019,” Kumar said.

On the qualifications necessary for appointing a chairperson, Kumar said Rathore held an MTech in Civil Engineering from the Benaras Hindu University (BHU).

The degree is not mentioned in a list of “special knowledge” and “practical experience” requirements listed in the NGT order.

The courses listed by the order are:

  • Master of Science in Environmental Science
  • Environmental Management and Master of Engineering
  • Master of Technology in Environmental Engineering or an equivalent degree

“Special knowledge as explained above has to be accompanied with adequate experience in the field,” the order states.

BHU does not offer a course in environmental engineering, said Kumar.

The order also stated knowledge in subjects necessary for “practical experience” as well.

“A person having practical experience must have a degree with Botany/Zoology/Chemistry or an allied subject wherein basic knowledge about ecology and environment are a part of the curriculum,” the order said.

Similar provisions for the appointment of a state’s pollution control board chairperson were mentioned in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 as well.

The chairperson can also have experience in “administering institutions dealing with the matters aforesaid”, according to the laws.

Down To Earth reached out but could not communicate with Rathore.

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