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National Environment Appellate Authority Act,1997

National Environment Appellate Authority Act,1997 (PDF File)

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:-

 

CHAPTER I

 

PRELIMINARY

 

1. (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.

2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-
   (a) "Act" means the Environment (Protection) Act, 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.

 

CHAPTER II

 

ESTABLISHMENT OF AUTHORITY

 

3. (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.

4. The Authority shall consist of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and such other
   Members not exceeding three, as the Central Government may deem fit.

5. (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,
   environmental management, law or planning and development.

   (4) The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the Members shall be appointed by
   the President.

6. (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.
   
7. The Chairperson, the 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.

8. (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 of receipt of such notice 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
   sub-section (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).

9. 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.

10. 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.

 

CHAPTER III

 

JURISDICTION AND POWERS OF AUTHORITY

 

11. (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 the 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.

12. (1) The Authority shall not be bound by the procedure laid down in the Code of
    Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and subject
    to the other provisions of this Act and of any rules made by the Central Government, the
    Authority shall have power to regulate its own procedure including the fixing of places
    and times of its inquiry and deciding whether to sit in public or in private.

    (2) The Authority shall have, for the purposes of discharging its functions under this
    Act, the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure,
    1908, while trying a suit, in respect of the following matters, namely:-

         (a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining
         him on oath;

         (b) requiring the discovery and production of documents;

         (c) receiving evidence on affidavits;

         (d) subject to the provisions of sections 123 and 124 of the Indian Evidence
         Act, 1872 requisitioning any public record or document or copy of such record or
         document from any office;

         (e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;

         (f) reviewing its decisions;

         (g) dismissing a representation for default or deciding it, ex parte;

         (h) setting aside any order of dismissal of any representation for default or any
         order passed by it ex parte; and

         (i) any other matter which is required to be, or may be, prescribed by the
         Central Government.

13. The Chairperson shall exercise such financial and administrative powers as
    may be vested in him under the rules:
    
    Provided that the Chairperson shall have authority to delegate such of his financial
    and administrative powers as he may think fit to the Vice-Chairperson or any other officer
    subject to the condition that the Vice-Chairperson or such other officer shall, while 
    exercising such delegated powers, continue to act under the direction, control and supervision
    of the Chairperson.

14. (1) The Central Government shall determine the nature and categories of the
    officers and other employees required to assist the Authority in the discharge of its 
    functions and provide the Authority with such officers and other employees as it may think fit.

    (2) The officers and other employees of the Authority shall discharge their functions
    under the general superintendence of the Chairperson.

    (3) The salaries and allowances and conditions of service of the officers and other
    employees shall be such as may be prescribed.

 

CHAPTER IV

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

15. With effect from the date of establishment of the Authority, no civil court or
    other authority shall have jurisdiction to entertain any appeal in respect of any matter with
    which the Authority is so empowered by or under this Act.

16. All proceedings before the Authority shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings
    within the meaning of sections 193, 219 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code.

17. The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the Members and the officers and
    other employees of the Authority shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning
    of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.

18. No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the Central 
    Government or against the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson or a Member of the Authority
    or any other person authorised by the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson or a Member for
    anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act or any
    rule or order made thereunder.

19. Whoever fails to comply with any order made by the Authority, he shall be
    punishable with imprisonment for a tenn which may extend to seven years, or with fine
    which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.

20. (1) Where any offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every
    person who, at the time the offence was committed, was directly in charge of, and was
    responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the
    company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded
    against and punished accordingly:

    Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person
    liable to any punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed
    without his knowledge or that he has exercised all due diligence to prevent the 
    commission of such offence.

    (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under
    this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been
    committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part
    of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, 
    manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be
    liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

        Explanation. - For the purposes of this section,-

        (a) "company" means any body corporate and includes a firm or other association of 
            individuals; and

        (b) "director", in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.

21. (1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the Provisions of this Act, the
    Central Government may, by order published in the Official Gazette, make such 
    provisions, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, as appear to it to 
    be necessary or expedient for removing the difficulty:

    Provided that no such order shall be made after the expiry of the period of three
    years from the date on which this Act receives the assent of the President.

    (2) Every order made under this section shall, as soon as may be after it is made, be
    laid before each House of Parliament.

22. (1) The Central Government may, by notification, make rules for carrying out
    the provisions of this Act.

    (2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power,
    such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:-

        (a) the procedure under sub-section (4) of section 8 for the investigation of
        misbehaviour or incapacity of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson or a Member;

        (b) the salaries and allowances payable to and the other terms and conditions 
        of service of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the Members under section 9;

        (c) the form which an appeal shall contain under sub-section (1) of section 11;

        (d) financial and administrative powers of the Chairperson under section 13;

        (e) the salaries and allowances and conditions of service of the officers and
        other employees of the Authority;

        (f) any other matter which is required to be, or may be, prescribed.

    (3) Every rule made under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made,
    before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days
    which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if,
    before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive 
    sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses
    agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such
    modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such 
    modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously 
    done under that rule.

23. (1) The National Environment Appellate Authority Ordinance, 1997 is hereby
    repealed.

    (2) Notwithstanding such repeal, anything done or any action taken under the said
    Ordinance, shall be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding 
    provisions of this Act.
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