Supreme Court dismisses plea by retired judge

Justice Sharma, a retired judge of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, is well known for his dissenting Ayodhya judgment wherein he ruled that the disputed site was the birthplace of Lord Ram.

The tribunal was set up last year to deal with environment related matters and is constituted by the central government. It is headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Lokeshwar Singh Penta.

An apex bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar said Justice Sharma did not have a legal right to be appointed to the green tribunal. Justice Nijjar said: “He does  not have a legal right to be appointed."

The court said that merely being selected for the post by the government does not bestow the right to be appointed.

Dismissing Justice Sharma's plea, the court said: “We are of the view  that the petitioner does not have a legal right to be appointed as a judicial member of the tribunal.”

Justice Sharma who was selected for both the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) gave up CAT in favour of NGT as it afforded him a slightly longer tenure.

Senior counsel Nidesh Gupta, appearing for Justice Sharma, contended that the rules governing the appointment to the NGT could not be arbitrary and there has to be a valid reason to refuse an appointment. He said that it was a statutory tribunal.

Justice Kabir asked him if “this court can direct the president to make an appointment.” As Gupta said that the appointment was finalized by the Union of India, Justice Kabir again asked if the apex court could “direct the Union of India” to make an appointment.

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