National Green Tribunal Act: Objectives, Powers, Challenges, Notes PDF

By K Balaji|Updated : June 15th, 2022

NGT or National Green Tribunal was formed in the late October of 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act. It is a specialized quasi-judicial body that looks after the range of environmental disputes that also encompasses multi-disciplinary issues. 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 the 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 National Green Tribunal (NGT) UPSC notes.

Table of Content

What is NGT?

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 effective and expeditious disposal of cased related to the protection of forests, environment, and natural resources.

  • The headquarters of NGT is New Dehli.
  • The NGT or National Green Tribunal is situated in five places except for New Delhi as 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 (NGT)

Go through the highlights of NGT, and National Green Tribunal to gain a better understanding of the topic.

NGT Full-Form

National Green Tribunal

NGT Chairman 2022

Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel

National Green Tribunal Headquarters

New Delhi

NGT Orders Challenge Status

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

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.

NGT Chairperson & Members

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).

Other Benches and their headquarters:

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

Structure of NGT

  • The NGT comprises the Chairperson, 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.
  • NGT 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 compensations and relief for any damages caused to both persons and properties.
  • To handle a plethora of environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.

Powers of the National Green Tribunal [NGT]

The NGT has evolved over the past few years as a prime regulatory institution for the protection and conservation of the environment and has passed strict judgments on issues of pollution, deforestation, waste management, etc. Some of the major powers of the NGT 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

National Green Tribunal- Challenges

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: Mostly NGT has 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 can not be the adequate substitutes for High Courts under Articles 226 and 227.
  • Limited Regional Benches: located in only big cities but environmental exploitation is also taking place in the tribal areas and remote locations.

Landmark Judgments of NGT

In Ms. Betty C. Alvares vs. The State of Goa and Ors. the NGT 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 the habitat of a bird.
  • 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, it 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, 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 NGT as soon as possible.

NGT UPSC Notes

National Green Tribunal is a part of the UPSC Syllabus, and questions will be asked in the UPSC Exam on this particular topic. That is why candidates need to strengthen their basic concepts of this topic, including the National Green Tribunal ACT, challenges, power, objectives, etc. This is an imperative section for both UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains, and covering the National Green Tribunal UPSC Notes would help the candidates cover all the important sections of NGT. Aspirants can also take the help of the UPSC Books to broaden their knowledge in NGT.

National Green Tribunal UPSC Notes PDF

Candidates can download the National Green Tribunal UPSC Notes in PDF format from the below-given link and kickstart their preparation for the UPSC exam. The notes would surely help them to answer all the questions asked on this topic.

>> Download National Green Tribunal UPSC Notes PDF

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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 National Green Tribunal which was established as per the National Green Tribunal Act. It was set up for effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to the conservation of forests, environmental protection, and other natural resources.

  • Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel is the chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) which took over in 2018.

  • 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 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 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 Tribunal in person by submitting an application in the required format.

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