October 21, 2020

LJP against Goel as green body chairman

Patna: Union food and consumer protection minister Ram Vilas Paswan and his son and member of Parliament Chirag Paswan have opposed Justice (retd) A.K. Goel’s appointment as National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairman.

Goel, was part of the apex court bench that “weakened” some of the stringent provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, in March.

Ram Vilas has written to Union home minister Rajnath Singh while Chirag has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Telegraph has a copy of Chirag’s letter.

In his letter, Chirag said Dalits were unhappy and anguished over Justice (retd) A.K. Goel’s appointment as NGT chairman as he was the one who “diluted” some of the provisions of the SC/ST Act. In his judgement on March 20, Goel had expressed concern over rampant misuse of the SC/ST Act and held that there will be no immediate arrest under the law while the police must conduct primary inquiry before taking any step.

The apex court judgement had created ripples. On April 2, various Dalit groups staged violent protests against the judgement in different parts of country. Several persons were killed and many injured in violence as Dalit protesters blocked trains, clashed with the police and set dozens of vehicles ablaze in different parts of the country.

“The entire country has seen the violence of April 2,” Chirag said in his letter. “Various Dalit groups have planned similar agitations on August 9. As a preventive measure that the country does not witness similar incidents, the government should take step which includes removal of A.K Goel as NGT chairman. Also the government should bring in a Bill in the ongoing session of the Parliament to safeguard the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.”

Sources said the father-son duo’s move to protest Goel’s appointment as NGT chairman comes after a Dalit rights group – All India Ambedkar Mahasabha – held a meeting at Paswan’s residence in New Delhi to express their disappointment over the move. BJP MP Udit Raj, too, has objected to the appointment.

Reacting to the alleged sexual assault on 29 girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Chirag had recently said that the case had dealt a blow to the chief minister “sushasan (good governance)” image. The Jamui MP had said that Nitish came to power as an alternative to “Jungle Raj” but such incidents are disturbing and raise a question on the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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