You have often seen or heard on news that the NGT have asked to pay the compensation for damage to the environment or NGT issues notice, etc. Every then and now we come across with such types of news. But many of us are not aware of what NGT is, why it is established, what is its purpose, when it is established etc. So, you are in the right platform here you get answers to all such questions.
National Green Tribunal we often called it NGT, it has been established in 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. ‘Tribunal’, it is a quasi-judicial body, it is like a court it is not exactly a court but it is like a Court. We all know that in normal courts the whole procedure takes a long time . So, NGT act as a fast track court for the cases related to Environment.
NGT was constituted regarding the purpose of environmental protection and it follows the principle of Environment and Natural justice i.e., ” Polluter Pays”. National green tribunal is a work towards protecting our environmental concerns and promoting sustainable development. NGT draws inspiration from the India’s constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.
POWERS OF NGT
With the growing concern of environmental degradation and climate change , the relevance of NGT has been increased. Some of the major powers of NGT are listed below:
- NGT have power of adjucating environmental disputes in the country.
- NGT has the power to hear all civil cases relating to environmental issues and questions that are linked to the implementation of the laws listed in Schedule I of the NGT Act.
- NGT has power to grant relief in the form of compensation and damages to affected persons.
- NGT handle cases that require technical expertise.
Thus, their powers can never overshadow judiciary, which is wide ranged. India is the third country which has established such environmental court after Australia and New Zealand.
SCOPE AND OBJECTIVE :
NGT is a specialized body having the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. The major objectives of the tribunal are listed below:
- To provide effective and speedy disposal of cases relating to environmental protection.
- To facilitate enforcement of any legal right relating to the environment.
- To provide compensation for damages to persons and property.
- To make environmental justices accessible to all.
The decision of the NGT is binding on the parties, unless they approach the Supreme Court in the appeal and the NGT’s order is either stayed or reversed. The NGT can only hear cases which came under the list of Schedule I of NGT act . The list of the Schedule I is given below:
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977;
- The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986;
- The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991;
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
The NGT is headed by the Chairperson who sits in the Principal Bench. Currently Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel is the chairman of NGT. The Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI). A Selection Committee shall be formed by central government to appoint the Judicial Members and Expert Members. There are to be least 10 and maximum 20 full time Judicial members and Expert Members should be in the tribunal.
The Principal Bench of the NGT has been established in the New Delhi( North) And it’s regional benches are established in the following places:
- Pune (Western Zone Bench)
- Bhopal (Central Zone Bench)
- Chennai (Southern Bench)
- Kolkata (Eastern Bench)
Each Bench has a specified geographical jurisdiction covering different States in a region.
Any person can file case for seeking relief and compensation for environmental damage involving subjects in the legislations mentioned in Schedule I of the NGT Act, 2010 . The NGT follows a very simple procedure to file an application seeking compensation for environmental damage or an appeal against an order or decision of the Government.
- The NGT imposed ₹5 crore fine as interim environment compensation on the Art of Living Foundation for organising event on the flood plains of Yamuna in 2016.
- NGT ordered that all diesel vehicles over 10 years old will not be permitted to ply in Delhi-NCR in 2015.
- The NGT declared an area of 100 metres from the edge of the Haridwar-Unnao stretch as a ‘no-development zone’ and prohibiting waste from being dumped within 500 metres.
- The NGT, imposed an interim ban on plastic bags of less than 50-micron thickness in Delhi.
Over the years NGT has emerged as a critical player in environmental regulation, passing strict orders on issues ranging from pollution to deforestation to waste management. NGT offers a path for the evolution of environmental jurisprudence by setting up an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.