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New Delhi: National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar retired from the post on Tuesday after completing his five-year tenure.

Justice Kumar resigned as Supreme Court judge after he was appointed NGT chairperson on 20 December 2012. His successor is yet to be appointed.

During his tenure as NGT chief, he passed several landmark orders and judgements. These include the ban on 10- year-old diesel and 15-year-old petrol vehicles, the slew of directions for rejuvenation of the Ganga and Yamuna, the demolition of illegal hotels in Himachal Pradesh and the ban on plastic items in Delhi, Haridwar and Punjab.

His recent order capping the number of pilgrims at Vaishno Devi to 50,000 per day and his direction to maintain silence at Amarnath temple drew ire from various quarters.

The first chairperson of the tribunal was justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta, who was appointed on 18 October 2010 and relinquished the post in 2011 when he was made lokayukta of Himachal Pradesh.

The NGT was established on 18 October 2010 under The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.

The tribunal’s principal bench is located in New Delhi while its zonal benches are in Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai and its circuit benches in Shimla, Shillong, Jodhpur and Kochi. The tribunal consists of a full time chairperson, judicial members and expert members. The minimum number of judicial and expert members prescribed is 10 in each category and maximum number is 20 in each category.

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