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National Green Tribunals (INDIA)

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      Vega Lorie (Manchester)

      What is the National Green Tribunal?

      The National Green Tribunal, established in 2010, as per the National Green Tribunal Act is a specialised judicial body equipped with expertise solely for the purpose of adjudicating environmental cases in the country.

      Recognising that most environment cases involve multi-disciplinary issues which are better addressed in a specialised forum, the Tribunal was setup as per recommendations of the Supreme Court, Law Commission and India’s international law obligations to develop national laws on environment and implement them effectively.

      The Tribunal is tasked with providing effective and expeditious remedy in cases relating to environmental protection, conservation of forests and other natural resources and enforcement of any legal right relating to environment. The Tribunal’s orders are binding and it has power to grant relief in the form of compensation and damages to affected persons.

      What is the Tribunal’s composition?

      The Tribunal has a presence in five zones- North, Central, East, South and West. The Principal Bench is situated in the North Zone, headquartered in Delhi.

      The Central zone bench is situated in Bhopal, East zone in Kolkata, South zone in Chennai and West zone in Pune.

      The Tribunal is headed by the Chairperson who sits in the Principal Bench and has at least ten but not more than twenty judicial members and at least ten but not more than twenty expert members.

      Who may submit cases to the Tribunal and what sort of cases are heard?

      Any person seeking relief and compensation for environmental damage involving subjects in the legislations mentioned in Schedule I of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 may approach the Tribunal.

      The statutes in Schedule I are:

      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 Tribunal has jurisdiction over all civil cases involving a substantial question relating to environment and the question. Additionally, any person aggrieved by an order/direction of any of the Appellate Authorities under the legislations mentioned above can also challenge them before the National Green Tribunal.

      Do I need to engage an advocate to approach the Tribunal?

      No, engaging an advocate is not necessary. Aggrieved parties may approach the Tribunal in person by submitting an application in the required format.

      Are decisions of the Court binding?

      Yes, decisions of the Tribunal are binding. The Tribunal’s orders are enforceable as the powers vested are the same as in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

      Are decisions of the Tribunal final?

      The Tribunal has powers to review its own decisions. If this fails, the decision can be challenged before the Supreme Court within ninety days.

      How is the Tribunal functioning in the absence of full strength of judicial and expert members?

      In the absence of full strength of judicial and expert members in regional benches of the Tribunal situated in Chennai, Pune, Bhopal and Kolkata, the Principal Bench in New Delhi is hearing applications from other jurisdictions remotely by video conferencing to meet the needs of the litigants.

      How can I attend hearings of the Court?

      The Tribunal is an open court and its proceedings can be attended in person.

      Does the Court offer internships?

      Yes, please see the Internship page for requisite information.

      Source: NGT

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