Updated: August 17, 2021 1:17:57 pm
MAINTAINING THAT the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has an important role to play in maintenance of environment and to curb pollution in the industrial state, the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High court pulled up the state government for not constituting the board to its optimum level for over 14 years, with vacant positions of expert members among others.
The court asked the government to respond as to within which period the board would be constituted at its full strength within a month’s time.
A division bench of Justice Sanjay V Gangapurwala and Justice Rajesh N Laddha on August 5 was hearing a PIL by NGO Lokjagar Foundation through its President Pandharinath Sable raising grievance that MPCB is not constituted according to the law.
The foundation, through senior advocate V D Sapkal, claimed that five members among the members of local authority and three non-officials to represent interest of agriculture, fishery, industry or trader are yet to be appointed.
Sapkal said that the board is not constituted to its optimum for more than 14 years and posts of expert members are also not appointed. He said that such experts’ posts are honorary and the government would not even have to face the financial liability for the same.
During the previous hearing in March, this year, the court had perused an affidavit filed by the state government and had observed that the board is not constituted with its total strength of 17 members. “The affidavit is also silent about the steps being taken by respondents to make the Board functional to its optimum,” the HC had observed.
The court had then asked the government to provide steps to be taken for appointment of ‘non-official members’ and the period within which the same can be made.
Earlier this month, the bench noted, “The MPCB has an important role to play in maintenance of ecology and environment. The expert members would always be an asset to the Board…14 years is too long a period for the Board not being constituted to its optimum.”
The bench directed the government to make a ‘positive statement’ about the steps to fill up vacancies on September 2.
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