SC approves Centre’s new experts body on environmental and forest matters

New Delhi, Jan 31 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Wednesday approved the new body of experts set up by the Centre for consultation on environmental and forest matters.

The Court clarified that it will continue to monitor these matters and will exercise jurisdiction over the new panel that replaced court-appointed CEC.

A bench of Justice B R Gavai, Justice P S Narasimha and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra approved reconstitution of the CEC, which was set up on apex court’s order in 2002, having noted that the CEC functioned for two decades as an ad-hoc body.

Justice Narasimha said, that this court will continue to have and continue to exercise its jurisdiction over the decisions taken by the new CEC. “We have taken note of the notification issued by the government which has said that the present composition of CEC consists of persons more than 75-years of age.

The Top Court further said, “We have given directions with respect to how to ensure institutionalisation of the various bodies constituted under different environmental protection act.” The body acts as a watchdog for environmental conservation and compliance.

According to the notification, the new CEC will consist of a chairperson, a member secretary and three expert members, all of whom will be nominated or appointed by the Centre.

It stated that the Chairperson must have at least 25 years of experience, either in the environment, forestry or wildlife fields or of proven administrative experience in the Union government or in state governments.

On May 9, 2002, the Supreme Court had directed for the setting up of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) that would advise the apex court on technical issues about the protection of forests and biodiversity.

In September 2023, the Union Environment Ministry notified the constitution of a new central empowered committee (CEC) to replace an ad hoc body constituted by the Supreme Court in 2002.

A two-judge bench of the top court approved the Union government’s draft notification in August 2023.

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