The western zone bench of the , (NGT) in Pune, which has not had a sitting since 2018, will not start functioning any time soon. The sitting of the bench has been deferred.
“The sitting of the western zone bench of NGT in Pune stands deferred till further orders. The bench will continue to function through video conferencing from the NGT Principal Bench in Delhi,” said Suresh Rajurkar, registrar of western zone bench of NGT, in an official order.
Last year, the NGT’s Western Zone Bar Association had approached the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the Union government to speed up the appointment of a Judicial Member and an Expert Member to resume the sitting of the bench in Pune. The western zone bench has jurisdiction of environmental issues in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa.
On January 2 this year, the NGT chairperson had posted Siddhanta Das as an Expert Member as part of the western zone bench and stated that the Pune bench will become functional from February 1, subject to the joining of a Judicial Member.
Sheo Kumar Singh was appointed as the Judicial Member from April 1,and it was expected that the bench will start taking up matters in Pune soon, but the nationwide lockdown hampered the process.
Due to delay in constituting a bench in Pune, the Principal Bench of NGT had constituted a bench in Delhi, which held hearings through video-conferencing, but only a limited number of pleas could be addressed through this process.
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