The Supreme Court today appointed Justice Jawad Rahim, judicial member of National Green Tribunal (NGT), as the acting chairperson of the green panel.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that the new acting chairperson will discharge his duties until a regular appointment is made and will take part in selection process of other members of the NGT.
"Justice Rahim shall discharge the duties of Chairperson (of NGT) for all purposes, including participating in the selection process for filing up vacancies of members, until a regular appointment of a new Chairperson is made," the bench said.
It, however, made it clear that this appointment is an "interim arrangement" and shall not be construed to be a final determination of the seniority between Justice Rahim and Justice R S Rathore by this court.
The order came on a plea of the NGT Bar Association that has said that due to the non-appointment of chairperson at NGT, the selection process to fill up vacancies has been stalled.
The bench was told that Justice Rahim and Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore are the judicial members of the NGT and both were appointed to the NGT on 12 January 2016.
The Centre, represented by Attorney General K K Venugopal, left to the apex court the issue of appointing the acting chairperson in view of the fact that both the judges were appointed in the NGT on same day.
The apex court noted that the Attorney General has indicated that the central government would abide by the interim arrangement that is made by the court, so as to facilitate the discharge of duties of the Chairperson until a regular appointment is made.
"The making of an interim arrangement is also necessitated in order to enable the acting Chairperson to participate in the selection process for filling up vacancies of members of the NGT," it said.