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23 April, 2021

5 Min Read

National Green Tribunal

National Green Tribunal

About NGT

  • It is a specialised body set up 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.
  • NGT is mandated to make disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.

Structure

  • The Tribunal comprises of the Chairperson, the Judicial Members and Expert Members.
  • They shall hold office for term of 5 years and are not eligible for reappointment.
  • The Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with 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 in the tribunal.

Powers & Jurisdiction of NGT

  • The Tribunal has jurisdiction over all civil cases involving substantial question relating to environment (including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment).
  • NGT also has appellate jurisdiction to hear appeal as a Court (Tribunal).
  • The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, but shall be guided by principles of 'natural justice'.
  • While passing any order/decision/ award, it shall apply the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle.
  • NGT by an order, can provide:
    • relief and compensation to the victims of pollution and other environmental damage (including accident occurring while handling any hazardous substance),
    • for restitution of property damaged, and
    • for restitution of the environment for such area or areas, as the Tribunal may think fit.
  • An order/decision/award of Tribunal is executable as a decree of a civil court.
  • The NGT Act also provides a procedure for a penalty for non compliance:
    • Imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years,
    • Fine which may extend to ten crore rupees, and
    • Both fine and imprisonment.
  • An appeal against order/decision/ award of the NGT lies to the Supreme Court, generally within ninety days from the date of communication.

The NGT deals with civil cases under the :

  1. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974,
  2. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977,
  3. The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980,
  4. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981,
  5. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986,
  6. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and
  7. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Landmark Judgements of NGT

  • In 2012, POSCO a steelmaker company signed a MoU with the Odisha government to set up steel project. NGT suspended order and this was considered a radical step in favour of the local communities and forests.
  • In 2013 in Uttarakhand floods case, the Alaknanda Hydro Power Co. Ltd. was ordered to compensate to the petitioner – here, the NGT directly relied on the principle of ‘polluter pays’.
  • In 2015, the NGT ordered that all diesel vehicles over 10 years old will not be permitted to ply in Delhi-NCR.
  • In 2017, the Art of Living Festival on Yamuna Food Plain was declared violating the environmental norms, the NGT panel imposed a penalty of Rs. 5 Crore.
  • The NGT, in 2017, imposed an interim ban on plastic bags of less than 50-micron thickness in Delhi because “they were causing animal deaths, clogging sewers and harming the environment”.

Source: TH

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