THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT APPELLATE AUTHORITY ACT, 1997
[Act, No. 22 of 1997]
[26th March, 1997]
An Act to provide for the establishment of a National Environment Appellate Authority to hear appeals with respect to restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Forty-eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--
Section 1. Short title and commencement
(1) This Act may be called the National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997.
(2) It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 30th day of January, 1997.
Section 2. Definitions
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--
(a) "Act" means the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986(29 of 1986);
(b) "Authority" means the National Environment Appellate Authority established under sub-section (1) of section 3;
(c) "Chairperson" means the Chairperson of the Authority;
(d) "Member" means a Member of the Authority;
(e) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(f) "Vice-Chairperson" means the Vice-Chairperson of the Authority;
Section 3. Establishment of Authority
(1) The Central Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, establish a body to be known as the National Environment Appellate Authority to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to, it under this Act.
(2) The head office of the Authority shall be at Delhi.
Section 4. Composition of Authority
The Authority shall consist of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and such other Members not exceeding three, as the Central Government may deem fit.
Section 5. Qualifications for appointment as Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson or Member
(1) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Chairperson unless he has been--
(a) a Judge of the Supreme Court; or
(b) the Chief Justice of a High Court.
(2) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Vice-Chairperson unless he has--
(a) for at least two years held the post of a Secretary to the Government of India or any other post under the Central or State Government carrying a scale of pay which is not less than that of a Secretary to the Government of India; and
(b) expertise or experience in administrative, legal, managerial or technical aspects of problems relating to environment.
(3) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Member unless he has professional knowledge or practical experience in the areas pertaining to conservation, environment management, law or planning and development.
(4) The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the Members shall be appointed by the President.
Section 6. Vice-Chairperson to act as Chairperson or to discharge his functions in certain circumstances
(1) In the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the Chairperson by reason of his death, resignation or otherwise, the Vice-Chairperson shall act as the Chairperson until the date on which a new Chairperson appointed in accordance with the provisions of this Act to fill such vacancy enters upon his office.
(2) When the Chairperson is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice-Chairperson or, as the case may be, such one of the Member as the Central Government may, by notification, authorise in this behalf, shall discharge the functions of the Chairperson until the date on which the Chairperson resumes his duties.
Section 7. Term of office
The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson or a Member shall hold office as such for a term of three years from the date on which he enters upon his office, but shall be eligible for re-appointment for another term of three years:
Provided that no Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson or Member shall hold office as such after he has attained,--
(a) in the case of the Chairperson, the age of seventy years; and
(b) in the case of the Vice-Chairperson or a Member, the age of sixty-five years.
Section 8. Resignation and removal
(1) The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson or a Member may, by notice in writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office:
Provided that the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson or a Member shall, unless he is permitted by the President to relinquish his office sooner, continue to hold office until the expiry of three months from the date ofreceipt of suchnotice or until a person duly appointed as his successor enters upon his office or until the expiry of his term of office, whichever is the earliest.
(2) The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson or a Member shall not be removed from his office except by an order made by the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after an inquiry made by a Judge of the Supreme Court in which such Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson or a Member had been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.
(3) The President may suspend from office the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson or a Member in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court under subsection (2) until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference.
(4) The Central Government may, by rules, regulate the procedure for the investigation of misbehaviour or incapacity of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson or a Member referred to in sub-section (2).
Section 9. Salaries and allowances and other terms and conditions of service of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Members
The salaries and allowances payable to, and the other terms and conditions of service (including pension, gratuity and other retirement benefits) of, the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the Members shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
Section 10. Vacancy in Authority not to invalidate acts or proceedings
No act or proceedings of the Authority shall be questioned or shall be invalid merely on the ground of existence of any vacancy or defect in the establishment of the Authority.
Section 11. Appeals to Authority
(1) Any person aggrieved by an order granting environmental clearance in the areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations and processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards may, within thirty days from the date of such order, prefer an appeal to the Authority in such form as may be prescribed:
Provided that the Authority may entertain any appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days but not after ninety days from the date aforesaid if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time.
(2) For purposes of sub-section (1), "person" means--
(a) any person who is likely to be affected by the grant of environmental clearance;
(b) any person who owns or has control over the project with respect to which an application has been submitted for environmental clearance;
(c) any association of persons (whether incorporated or not) likely to be affected by such order and functioning in the field of environment;
(d) the Central Government, where the environmental clearance is granted by the State Government and the State Government, where the environmental clearance is granted by the Central Government; or
(e) any local authority, any part of whose local limits is within the neighbourhood of the area wherein the project is proposed to be located.
(3) On receipt of an appeal preferred under sub-section (1), the Authority shall, after giving the appellant an opportunity of being heard, pass such orders, as it thinks fit.
(4) The Authority shall dispose of the appeal within ninety days from the date of filing the appeal:
Provided that the Authority may for reasons to be recorded in writing dispose of the appeal within a further period of thirty days.