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.
- 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
Orders Challenge Status
Yes, the orders can be challenged before the SC within 90 days.
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:
- Water Act (Prevention and Control of Pollution), 1974
- Water Cess Act (Prevention and Control of Pollution), 1977
- Forest Act (Conservation), 1980
- Air Act (Prevention and Control of Pollution), 1981
- Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
- Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
- 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.