The Madras High Court on Tuesday granted interim stay of certain rules pertaining to the appointment of expert members of the National Green Tribunal.

These rules were challenged by a law student who contended that they were unconstitutional.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and D. Hariparanthaman, stayed the operation of Rules 4, 7(1)(c) and 7(2) of the National Green Tribunal (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.

The Bench passed the order on a public interest litigation petition by a student of the School of Excellence in Law, Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, here.

In his petition, M. Naveen Kumar stated that according to rule, an expert member should be appointed by direct recruitment on contract basis or deputation.

No person should be appointed as an expert unless he held an analogous post on regular basis or a post that was one level below that of an analogous post.

The petitioner said appointing a technical member to a tribunal that would adjudicate matters involving substantial questions pertaining to environment on contract and deputation basis would be contrary to the spirit of the Constitution.

The proviso in Rule 7(1)(c) provided for an expert member to draw allowances on the original basic pay. This would compel a member to function like a government employee and defeat the purpose of having independent and impartial members for the tribunal, he contended.

Rule 7(2) stipulated that an expert member, who on the date of his appointment to the tribunal was in Central or State government service, could opt for appointment on deputation basis. This would amount to transfer of judicial functions to executive authorities and nullify the purpose of fair and impartial administration of justice.

The petitioner prayed the court to declare the impugned provisions as unconstitutional.

The matter has been posted after two weeks for filing of counter.

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