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NGT dismisses plea for making Environmental studies a compulsory subject

Friday, 18 July 2014 - 11:10pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The National Green Tribunal has dismissed as "unmaintainable" a plea seeking direction to University Grants Commission (UGC) and others to ensure that Environmental studies is taught as compulsory subject by qualified teachers who are post graduates with specialisation.

Stating that it did not have the jurisdiction to entertain the issue, a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar rejected the petition filed by MC Mehta seeking compliance of a 1991 Supreme Court order, in which it had directed UGC and central and state governments for providing compulsory environmental education to students of schools and colleges throughout the country.

"We are of the considered view that the present application filed by the applicant under Section 14 of the NGT Act is not maintainable and the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain and grant the reliefs prayed for by the applicant....

"In our considered view it would not fall within the ambit of Section 14 of the NGT Act as neither does it raise any substantial question relating to environment nor does the implementation of the Scheduled Acts arise.

"This application is, therefore, dismissed as not maintainable," the bench said.

The petition had sought directions to UGC, All India Council of Technical Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development and state education boards to ensure that Environmental studies is taught by eligible teachers to the students from academic session 2014.

According to Mehta, none of the universities, colleges or schools has appointed teachers as per guidelines. The syllabus for postgraduate courses in environmental studies has not been framed either.

"Issue direction to the respondents to ensure that compulsory subject of Environmental studies is taught by the qualified/eligible teachers/Astt professors having specialisation in post graduate degree in terms of UGC guidelines...," the plea had said.

The plea had also sought appropriate action against the respondents for not providing environmental education properly in the educational institutions, thereby, not implementing the Supreme Court order.
Mehta had, further, alleged that except for holding the meetings, the state governments have not taken any concrete steps for compliance of the same. 

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