National Green Tribunal (NGT): Main Function, Chairman, NGT Act UPSC

By K Balaji|Updated : November 24th, 2022

NGT, or National Green Tribunal, is a specialized quasi-judicial body that looks after the range of environmental disputes that also encompasses multi-disciplinary issues. It was formed in October 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act. NGT was established after replacing the then National Environment Appellate Authority. India has become the 3rd country after Australia and New Zealand to set up a specialized environmental tribunal. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) gets inspiration from the Fundamental Right (Article 21), and it is in consonance with the philosophies of the Directive Principles of State Policies (DPSPs: Article 48A), the Fundamental Duty (Article 51-A (g)) of the India Constitution.

National Green Tribunal UPSC is an indispensable topic for the IAS Exam as it finds a mention in the syllabus of the UPSC. Therefore, it is important to have a solid understanding and awareness of the developments in this field and widen the knowledge with NGT UPSC notes.

Table of Content

What is National Green Tribunal?

NGT full form is National Green Tribunal. It is a specialized judicial body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. It was introduced for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to the protection of forests, the environment, and natural resources.

National Green Tribunal (NGT) PDF

  • The headquarters of NGT is New Dehli.
  • The National Green Tribunal is situated in five places except for New Delhi as its headquarters. They are Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata, and Chennai.
  • By setting up NGT, India became the third country in the world after New Zealand and Australia to introduce a specialized environmental tribunal.

National Green Tribunal Act

The National Green Tribunal Act 2010 is an act of the Indian Parliament that allows for the establishment of a special tribunal (NGT) to deal with disputes involving environmental concerns in a timely manner. Go through the highlights of the National Green Tribunal to gain a better understanding of the topic.

NGT Full Form

National Green Tribunal

NGT Chairman 2022

Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel


New Delhi

Orders Challenge Status

Yes, the orders can be challenged before the SC within 90 days.

NGT Chairman

Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel is the current NGT Chairman. The National Green Tribunal has a presence in the following five zones - North, Central, East, South, and West. The Principal Bench of the NGT is headquartered in New Delhi (North Zone). The details of other benches and their headquarters are provided below:

  • The Central zone: Bhopal
  • East zone: Kolkata
  • South zone: Chennai
  • West zone: Pune

Structure of NGT

The NGT comprises the Chairman, the Judicial Members, and Expert Members.

  • All these members are required to hold the office for five years, and they are not eligible for reappointment.
  • NGT chairman is appointed by the Central Government of India in accordance with the chief justice of India.
  • The National Green Tribunal Members are appointed through a selection committee that is formed by the central government of India.
  • The NGT is headed by the Chairperson, who sits at the Principal Bench and has 10-20 judicial and a similar number of expert members.

Objectives of NGT

Some of the major objectives of the National Green Tribunal are:

  • Expeditious and effective disposal of cases related to the conservation and protection of the environment, forests, and other natural resources.
  • To provide compensation and relief for any damages caused to both persons and properties.
  • Another objective of NGT is to handle a plethora of environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.

Main Function of National Green Tribunal

The NGT has evolved over the past few years as a prime regulatory institution for protecting and conserving the environment and has passed strict judgments on pollution, deforestation, waste management, etc. Some of the major functions of the National Green Tribunal include:

  • National Green Tribunal ensures the strict observation of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process.
  • It provides relief and compensation for any damages caused to persons and properties.
  • The NGT adjudicates civil suits under the following environmental laws:
    1. Water Act (Prevention and Control of Pollution), 1974
    2. Water Cess Act (Prevention and Control of Pollution), 1977
    3. Forest Act (Conservation), 1980
    4. Air Act (Prevention and Control of Pollution), 1981
    5. Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
    6. Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
    7. Biological Diversity Act, 2002

Challenges of the National Green Tribunal

Some of the major challenges faced by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) are listed below:

  • Limit to Jurisdiction: Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006, kept out of NGT’s jurisdiction.
  • Hindrance to Development: Decisions of NGT are often criticized and challenged due to their effects on economic development.
  • Looming Vacancies: Most NGTs have fewer members than the sanctioned strength of 10 each.
  • Undermining NGT’s objective of disposal appeals within six months due to vacancies.
  • Additional Layer to Judicial Process: The Supreme Court, in the L Chandrakumar case, opined that Tribunals could not be adequate substitutes for High Courts under Articles 226 and 227.
  • Limited Regional Benches: The National Green Tribunal is located only in big cities, but environmental exploitation is also taking place in tribal areas and remote locations.

Landmark Judgments of NGT

In Ms Betty C. Alvares vs The State of Goa and Ors., the National Green Tribunal laid down that without regard to the question of nationality, a person can file a case related to an environmental issue.

  • In the Almitra H Patel Vs Union of India, the NGT instructed states to implement Solid Waste Management Rules and stopped the open burning of waste.
  • In 2012, National Green Tribunal suspended the clearance provided to the South Korean steel maker, POSCO, to set up a 12 million-tonne steel plant in Odisha.
  • In the Save Mon Federation Vs Union of India case, it suspended a ₹6,400-crore hydro project to save a bird's habitat.
  • In Srinagar Bandh Aapda Sangharsh Samiti & Anr. v. Alaknanda hydro Power Co. Ltd. & Ors., the NGT has accepted the concept of ‘polluter pays’ and made a private entity prone to pay for the damage.
  • In the Art of living case on Yamuna Floodplain, the National Green Tribunal asked them to pay a fine of Rs 5 crore. It also held the Art of Living Foundation accountable for the damages caused to the Yamuna floodplain.

National Green Tribunal: Way Forward

In the present era, an equilibrium between economic growth and development and the environment is of prime importance. Hence, National Green Tribunal (NGT) should not be seen as an obstacle to development but as an enabler of sustainable development. Therefore, the government must address all issues encompassing the National Green Tribunal as soon as possible.

National Green Tribunal UPSC

National Green Tribunal UPSC is a part of the IAS Syllabus, and questions might be asked on this particular topic in the Prelims and Mains exams. That is why candidates need to strengthen their basic concepts of this topic, including the National Green Tribunal Act, challenges, power, objectives, etc.

Candidates can also download the National Green Tribunal UPSC Notes in PDF format from the link given in this article and kickstart their preparation for the upcoming exam.

Other Important UPSC Notes
Asian Development BankIndus Water Treaty 1960
Tiger Conservation in IndiaEnvironmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
e-GovernanceInvestment Models
Pitt’s India Act 1784Government of India Act 1858
Cyber SecurityCripps Mission 1942
National Hydrogen MissionGlobal Hunger Index (GHI) 2021


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FAQs on National Green Tribunal (NGT)

  • The NGT was established in 2010 as per the National Green Tribunal Act and is a specialized quasi-judicial body equipped with expertise exclusively for adjudicating environmental cases in the country.

  • NGT full form is the National Green Tribunal, established in 2010 as a part of implementing the National Green Tribunal Act. It was set up to resolve environmental disputes and issues related to forest conservation, environmental degradation, and other natural resources.

  • Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel is the chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which took over in 2018. He was born on July 7, 1953, in Haryana and completed graduation and LLB from Punjab University. The NGT chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, was working as a Supreme Court Judge before he joined the office.

  • No. National Green Tribunal is a statutory body established by a Government Notification. It was formed using the powers of Section 3 of the NGT Act 2010.

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

  • The National Green Tribunal ensures environmental jurisprudence and helps reduce the burden of litigation in the higher judiciary. On the other hand, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) ensures the cleanliness of streams and wells and strives to improve the quality of air in the country.

  • No, engaging an advocate is not necessary. Aggrieved parties may approach the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in person by submitting an application in the required format.

  • The main function of the National Green Tribunal is to resolve environmental disputes by passing strict judgements on the matter. It can impose fines or provide relief for any damage caused to the environment.

  • Aspirants preparing for the upcoming UPSC exam must read this article thoroughly to familiarise themselves with the National Green Tribunal notes, including its main functions, chairman and members, objectives, etc.

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