A series of letters exchanged between the Centre and Chief Justice of India (CJI) SH Kapadia over a period of five months regarding appointment of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) head has led to a miffed retiring Supreme Court judge withdraw his consent to be appointed to the post.
The official communication between law, environment ministries and CJI Kapadia reveals that former SC judge Justice RV Raveendran withdrew his consent six months after the post was offered to him.
The post has been lying vacant since January.The revelations have been made by the law ministry in response to an Right to Information (RTI) query filed by activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal. Raveendran wrote to Kapadia on March 28 that he was no longer willing to be considered for appointment as the NGT chairman.
"You may recall that in October 2011, I had orally given consent…," said Justice Raveendran who retired last October.
"I was informed that you were kind enough to recommend my name in January 2012, since there was some delay in accepting the resignation of previous chairman (Justice LS Panta)," he further wrote.
Justice Raveendran made it clear that he was withdrawing his consent due to "change of circumstances in the last five months."
Immediately, CJI Kapadia sent a letter to law minister Salman Khurshid.
"I had recommended the name of Justice Raveendran for appointment as the chairperson of the NGT. In this connection, a letter sent by him is enclosed which speaks for itself," Kapadia wrote.
This set alarm bells ringing in the government, with environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan asking Salman Khurshid to seek a fresh name from CJI SH Kapadia.
"I request you to take up the matter with the CJI to recommend a suitable name for the post of chairman," she wrote.
According to the provisions of the NGT Act, 2010, only a serving or retired Supreme Court judge or a high court chief justice is eligible for the chairman's post in the tribunal.